New standards for professional trustees published

The Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) has published new standards for professional trustees which they will be expected to meet.

The new standards and associated accreditation process have been designed to improve and provide assurance about the quality of professional trustees, and discourage poor practices in the market.

Professional trustees will have to demonstrate they meet the standards, including fitness and propriety, governance skills, ongoing professional development and managing conflicts of interest. There are additional standards for professional trustees who chair or are the sole trustee on a board.

The PTSWG stated that professional trustees play an important role in pensions and should have a greater level of expertise, knowledge and skills and meet a higher standard of care than other trustees.

To hold accreditation, professional trustees will have to pass an initial application and then, on an ongoing basis, confirm they remain fit and proper and complete relevant professional development.

Commenting, PTSWG chairman, Association of Professional Pension Trustees council member, and Ross Trustees director, Andrew Bradshaw, said: “I am delighted to announce the publication of the standards and accreditation framework, which follows an extensive period of consultation with our fellow professional trustees and the advisory community.

“The input from people who responded to the consultation has been invaluable in shaping this final version of the standards, as has the commitment and hard work from all of the working group members. We are now focusing on implementing the accreditation framework. Professional trustees will be able to begin the process to becoming an accredited trustee once this last step has been finalised.”

Furthermore, The Pensions Regulator executive director for regulatory policy, analysis and advice, David Fairs, noted that professional trustees are a “valuable part of pension scheme boards” and bring “vital knowledge and experience” which helps to ensure schemes are well run and provide good outcomes for members.

“This robust accreditation framework will help to ensure that professional trustee appointments are high quality and meet the standards that TPR expects,” he added.

The Association of Professional Pension Trustees Council will take on responsibility for maintaining the standards and will also oversee the accreditation framework, which will be run by the Pensions Management Institute (PMI). The framework is expected to be launched later this year.

Pensions Management Institute chairman, Alan Whalley, said: “The Pensions Management Institute already supports over 1,000 trustee members by providing lifelong learning to improve knowledge and skills. Running the accreditation process is a natural extension of this work promoting excellence in pensions and we are pleased to be able to play a key role in this important initiative to drive up standards.”

The standards can be viewed here.

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