PMI launches professional trustee diploma

The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has announced the launch of its Diploma in Pension Trusteeship, an optional qualification for those who have already completed the association’s full professional trustee accreditation, APTitude.

The Diploma in Pension Trusteeship, which will be available from Wednesday 20 October, is an "advanced, standalone award" that builds on the professional trustee accreditation process launched by PMI last year.

It aims to allow those professional trustees who wish to demonstrate their competency to do so and was prompted by member interest, after a PMI student member survey found that 74 per cent of respondents were interested in taking further qualifications.

The diploma was designed to improve professional trustees’ technical knowledge and ability amid the increasingly complex pensions landscape, and will expand on the knowledge and understanding obtained through the Trustee Toolkit and the PMI APTitude qualification.

It is also the first qualification to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into its course material, with the PMI emphasising that ESG issues are now an “integral part” of trustee duty, particularly in light of new regulations introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

PMI CEO, Gareth Tancred, commented: “Following feedback our new members and the wider industry, we've launched the Diploma in Pension Trusteeship to provide a benchmark qualification for those trustees who wish to demonstrate a certain level of skill and competency in handling increasingly complicated pensions issues.

“It is hoped that the diploma will play a key role in raising the bar in pension trusteeship standards across the industry, helping trustees to better manage these issues across the schemes which they govern.

“We're proud of our heritage in educating and developing experts who are responsible for running the UK’s pensions industry and hope this new qualification will help the industry to maintain and improve standards in every area of pension scheme management, consultancy and trusteeship.”

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) executive director for regulatory policy, analysis and advice, David Fairs, added: “TPR welcomes any new initiative designed to improve standards of trusteeship. We are pleased that PMI shares our commitment to driving up standards within the professional trusteeship sector.”

The qualification has also been welcomed by a number of trustee organisations, with Dalriada Trustees director and Spence & Partners founder, Brian Spence, suggesting that it will be “particularly valuable in supporting the career development of both entry-level professional trustees and those transitioning from other roles in the industry."

“We welcome the principle of a higher level of qualification and where we consider it adds value, will encourage our team to consider it," added PTL managing director and Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association chair, Richard Butcher.

The diploma is designed for those acting as professional trustees of defined benefit and defined contribution workplace pension schemes, including members of governance committees and scheme secretaries.

However, the PMI also announced the launch of an accreditation programme for lay pension trustees earlier this year, which allows lay trustees to demonstrate their competency through a variety of steps.

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