Over 3/4 of DB pension trustees believe quarterly meeting cycle is over

Over three-quarters (79.8 per cent) of defined benefit (DB) pension scheme trustees believe that Covid-19 has signalled the end of the quarterly meeting cycle, industry research has found.

A survey commissioned by River and Mercantile and conducted by the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) revealed that nearly four in five trustees agreed the cycle had lost its relevance, with ad-hoc and online meetings expected to take its place.

Trustee also felt they required more informational support in their roles, with 76.6 per cent saying their scheme needed better access to tools to help them monitor investment progress and develop their investment strategy to meet long-term objectives.

Considering technological advancements, 84 per cent of respondents said that schemes should have access to real-time data on performance and attribution, with more than half (59.6 per cent) stating that this was a priority for them for the coming year.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the best made journey plans for many DB schemes, particularly given the shift in clarity of covenant support going forward.” commented River and Mercantile co-head, Ajeet Manjrekar.

“This has led trustees to rapidly embrace technology solutions that enable them to access more timely and accurate information, putting them in control. In fact, so entrenched has this approach become that the shift to continuous governance appears to be permanent, with most trustees believing the quarterly meeting cycle has now lost its relevance.”
 
Manjrekar said that the widespread adoption of technology was a welcome development, but it was important to remember that continuous governance “does not mean dissecting past performance on a more regular basis”.

He continued: “Trustees want forward looking tools that aid their decision making and information that supports their strategic and governance needs.

“That means advisers must not only be able to accommodate shorter, more regular trustee meetings, but also provide scheme information in a straightforward interactive format to facilitate better decision making and full transparency to stakeholders. This is key to supporting trustees in getting their scheme funding back on track."

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