Nearly three-quarters of member-nominated trustees (MNTs) want to see a formal qualification for trustees, to help meet the requirements for trustee knowledge and understanding (TKU), claims a survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Carried out by Punter Southall on behalf of the TUC, all of the 51 members of the TUC Member Trustee Network questioned, said they were in favour of the Pension Regulator’s TKU requirements, with 73% saying they would like to see the introduction of a formal qualification.
And virtually all of the respondents, at 98%, were also in favour of at least 50% of the trustee board being nominated by members, although nearly a third of those questioned agreed it is hard to find member-nominated trustees.
Meanwhile, although 73% claimed becoming a trustee has become a very onerous responsibility in recent years, only 12% blame the new TKU requirements for the extra burden, while all respondents approved of the idea of a course that would take trustees through the core TKU requirements.
However only 46% of schemes plan to send their trustees on such a course, although 61% of schemes are planning to change their practices on trustee training, with fewer schemes leaving it to individual trustees to arrange their own training, as 48% of schemes do so now with only 37% planning to do so in future.
The survey also reveals the most popular forms of training in future will be induction training, occasional training sessions and pensions seminars, while other topics covered by the report include conflicts of interest, the composition of trustee boards and the perceptions of member and employer-nominated and independent trustees.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, says the results are a vote in confidence for government proposals to increase the power and professionalism of member nominated trustees.
He adds: “This survey demonstrates trustees with trade union support have a real appetite for an active role in the stewardship of their members’ pensions. Member trustees want to fulfil their duties as effectively as possible, and as such are much more positive about TKU than many might expect.”
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