PLSA IC 23: TPR to issue all-trustee survey to measure diversity

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed plans to issue an all-trustee survey to gather greater data on the level of diversity in the trustee universe.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) Investment Conference 2023, TPR interim director of regulatory policy, analysis and advice, Louise Davey, stressed the need to measure progress given recent diversity and inclusion efforts.

Given this, she confirmed that TPR will be "shortly" issuing an all-trustee survey, where every trustee will be asked to provide information to allow TPR to understand what the universe of the trustee looks like, and measure how the industry is progressing.

In addition to this, she confirmed that the regulator is engaging with key schemes to discuss their current practice, how they are aiming to encourage diversity and inclusion, and what benefits this may be delivering.

“There are some key pieces of work going on there. We recognise that this is a journey and we're not going to see change happening overnight, but we are seeing some really good progress," she stated.

"It's about continuing to learn from each other, sharing that best practice and keeping, keeping the conversation going and keeping progress moving."

However, Davey acknowledged that there are challenges, highlighting the perception of the role of the trustee as a key challenge in particular.

She stated: “It is a really important role that carries a lot of responsibility and there is a necessity for trustees to have really good levels of knowledge and expertise available to them to make their decisions.

"But the key is challenging the kind of entrenched idea that you need to have been in the industry for a really long time.

"And you could argue that some of the expectations that the regulators set, for example around fit and proper, entrench that further, and I think there is a good bit of reflection for us to do there.

"While there is a need for trustee boards to have certain skills, but what there really needs to be are efforts to think more broadly."

For instance, Davey noted that others from other industries may have very transferable or valuable skills or expertise in other areas of relevance, such as data or cyber security.

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