Trustee chairs’ salaries rise as role complexities grow

The average salary for a pension board chair has increased by from £41,594 in 2016 to £47,004 in 2018, reflecting the growing “complexity and demands” of the role, research has found.

The rise represents a 6.5 per cent increase per annum since 2016 as trustee boards look to attract individuals with the skills to face mounting regulatory, governance and legal challenges facing schemes.

The Pension Chair Remuneration Report, published by Winmark and Barnett Waddingham, found that salaries ranged from £76,833 in consumer services to £27,000 in charities and not for profit organisations.

The report said: “Pension Chair salaries have increased in real terms since 2015, due in part to the increasing complexity and time demands of the role.

“Remuneration levels will continue to increase above inflation to attract individuals equipped with the required skill set to face the growing challenges: from the ability to deal with increasing regulatory, governance and legal obligations through to a need to understand increasingly technical financial and technology issues around investment, funding and cyber risks.”

The survey of 115 chairs, of which 87 per cent are paid, found that 58 per cent expect remuneration to stay the same, compared to 34 per cent who believe it will increase and just 7 per cent who believe it will decrease.

Furthermore, 82 per cent feel that the time commitments are “increasing significantly”, while 29 per cent agree that the remuneration does not reflect the responsibility of the role.

When split by gender, females have received a higher average remuneration package than their male counterparts over the past four years, although the gap has narrowed.

“Over the lifetime of the survey, female pension chairs have consistently received higher remuneration than their male counterparts.

“This gender pay gap in favour of women could be a positive message to help attract female candidates to trustee and chair positions. Eighteen per cent of survey respondents are female, suggesting there is plenty of scope to increase female representation among pension chairs.”

On average, the larger funds had higher remuneration packages than smaller schemes, while hybrid DB and DC have the highest average remuneration.

Regarding new trustees entering the profession, 72 per cent of chairs agree it provides attractive development opportunities, while over a third feel there are not enough new trustees and 11 per cent say attracting new trustees is the biggest challenge.

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