Trustees still to be convinced of the importance of ED&I – TPR

Trustees still need to be convinced of the importance of considering equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I), The Pensions Regulator (TPR) executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, has stated.

Speaking at the Pensions Age Autumn Conference, Parish said that “there is still a job of work to do to convince trustees that they need to effectively consider issues of ED&I”.

“But we are very clear; these are not nice to haves, they are essential to the successful management of schemes, inclusion of everyone wanting to save into a pension and the longer-term sustainability of our industry,” she explained.

Parish highlighted that the pensions industry is changing and “will need to carry on changing”.

“It must be able to consider the different and ever-more diverse profile of savers, which is why we have been pursuing the ED&I agenda with real vigour,” she added.

“I cannot emphasis enough that diversity of people on trustee boards will lead to better outcomes for savers.”

TPR’s guidance to help trustees meet the regulator’s expectations regarding ED&I will be issued “presently”, Parish stated.

In September, TPR published a new action plan to improve diversity and inclusion across trustee boards, after “worrying” new figures suggested that trustees are not prioritising this area.

The "concerning" research from the regulator revealed that just 10 per cent of defined benefit (DB) and 14 per cent of defined contribution (DC) schemes record any trustee diversity data.

Both DB and DC schemes were more likely to record trustee gender and age, although DC schemes typically gathered a wider range of data in addition to this, with between 8-10 per cent of DC schemes collecting gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, and educational attainment, compared to 5 per cent of DB schemes.

However, this data may not be being properly utilised, as TPR found that two-fifths (40 per cent) of DB schemes and nearly half (47 per cent) of DC schemes did not identify any uses for the trustee diversity data captured.

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