'Overwhelming' support to require accredited trustees, says AMNT

The Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) has suggested that there would be "overwhelming" support for a new requirements for every pension scheme to have at least one accredited trustee on its board.

Following a consultation by the association and discussion with its membership, the AMNT revealed that there was not only support for having at least one accredited trustee on the board of every scheme, but also support for every board member attaining accreditation.

The findings came after The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) previous consultation on the topic of trustee accreditation, which proposed plans for every pension scheme to employ a professional trustee, a proposal that the AMNT argued was met with “substantial opposition”.

Speaking at the AMNT's 'Protecting Pensions in Difficult Times' conference, AMNT co-chair, Janice Turner, stated: “As member nominated trustees we do know there are some problems that do need addressing in order to ensure that every trustee can operate at the optimal level."

Turner also went on to state that she felt “disappointed” in the general approach from the pension industry over the years, alleging that this approach sought not to find out what the problems are, but instead hoped that a professional trustee would take over.

Accredited trusteeship was not the only issue explored in the AMNT's consultation, as it also looked at the Trustee Toolkit, with the AMNT suggesting that whilst it is a requirement for new trustees that they complete the toolkit within six months, there is little enforcement of this.

To deal with this issue, the association called on TPR to require pension schemes to attach their trustees’ toolkit certificates with their annual return or, at the least, confirm in writing that that every trustee has completed it.

The AMNT also recommended that TPR should update the Trustee Toolkit “with urgency”, arguing that whilst it remains a "key element" of trustee knowledge and understanding, it might be becoming "out of date", providing the example that someone completing the toolkit now might assume that that the regulator does not consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) or climate change as important.

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