Trustees will need to raise their game to meet new requirements, but will be supported in doing so by the Pensions Regulator, its chief executive, Tony Hobman, said today.
Addressing an audience of trustees, fund managers, lawyers, actuaries and advisers at the Outer Temple Chambers Conference, Hobman outlined the positive action trustees can take to minimise the risks faced by pension schemes.
He said the Pensions Regulator was under no illusions as to the challenges lay and professional trustees would face as the new regulatory regime started to bite, but that trustees needed to act in order to conform with changes set out in the Pensions Act 2004.
"Trustees must take responsibility for the scheme's approach to funding issues and must be prepared to negotiate robustly with the employer over reaching a mutually acceptable way forward," he said.
Hobman also stressed that trustees would be supported by measures being introduced by the regulator, adding: "We have developed a code of practice on trustee knowledge and understanding; and, partly as a result of feedback during the process of developing the code, we are embarking on the development of a programme of e-learning for trustees."
The first tranche of the Pensions Regulator's free e-learning programme will be available in January 2006 and will cover units one and two of the syllabus: the responsibility of trustees in relation to trust law and pensions law. The remainder will be delivered later in 2006.
Trustees can express their interest in the programme and receive occasional updates by signing up at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/trustees/signUp
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