PMI launches pro trustee accreditation programme

The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has launched an accreditation programme for professional trustees which aims to drive up standards.

The ‘Accreditation for Professional Trustees’ (APTitude) has been announced following standards published by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) in 2019.

APTitude is open to all professional trustees and is designed to “build credibility and raise governance standards across the pensions industry”.

The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) also launched a professional pensions trustee accreditation programme on 11 February.

The PTSWG’s standards were designed to improve and provide assurance about the quality of professional trustees and discourage poor practices in the market.

Commenting on the accreditation launch, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) executive director of policy, David Fairs, said: “We regard the accreditation of professional trustees as crucial in promoting improved governance standards.

“We are pleased to note that PMI has produced an accreditation programme which aims to play an important role in achieving our shared objective of improving standards within the professional trusteeship sector.

“I encourage professional trustees to fully engage with accreditation programmes.”

To gain the accreditations, professional trustees must pass an initial application, which includes professional trustees that have successfully, completed the latest TPR Trustee Toolkit, passed the PMI’s level three Certificates in Pension Trusteeship and comply with ‘fit and proper’ requirements based on TPR’s master trust requirements.

They must also pass a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check, have proof of credible and relevant employment history within the industry for the past 5 years, and have references from two “reputable figures” within the pensions industry.

PMI chief executive officer, Gareth Tancred, added: “Professional trustees play a vital role in pension scheme governance and must set themselves apart from other trustees by meeting a higher standard of care.

“It is imperative for them to be fully equipped with all the necessary skills and tools to do their jobs to the best of their ability and for the process to be robust and rigorous in its method. We believe our accreditation programme is best placed to manage accreditation processes for sole traders as well as large firms.

“Even though TPR did not push forward with a requirement for every board to appoint a professional trustee last week, we would like to see mandatory appointments within the next five years.

“We look forward to working closely with TPR on developing trustee standards further to ensure the industry collectively drives better outcomes for savers.”

Applications for the accreditation will open from 24 February 2020.

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