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Clarity Trustees Limited has now been acquired by the Independent Governance Group.  Please follow this link to find out more Clarity Trustees joins Independent Governance Group - Ross Trustees

Clarity Trustees Limited - Centered Tran

Could a Professional Trustee add value?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then a Professional Trustee may be helpful.

  • Is pensions taking up too much of your time?

  • Would you find it difficult to articulate the objectives for your pension scheme and how you are going to get there?

  • Is your scheme having an impact on the way that you are running your business?

  • Do you want to do more to manage the risk in your pension scheme but just can’t find the time?

  • Do the current Trustees feel like they need more support in tackling complex issues or the increasing governance and knowledge requirements?

  • Do you rely on your current advisers on all pensions issues?

  • Do you find it difficult to know if you are getting access to the best ideas or know when to challenge your advisers?

  • Are you finding it frustrating that nothing seems to be changing with your pension scheme?

  • Does the Trustee Board need more direction or find it hard to fully engage in all issues?

  • Do current trustees have concerns around clarity of role and conflicts?

There can often be some apprehension about the appointment of a Professional Trustee. Please be assured that a good Professional Trustee is not:

  • There to tell anyone that they are wrong – instead they should create an environment where everyone can question and reach consensus.

  • Going to make all the decisions – the Board is still equally responsible for all decisions.

  • There to start a fight with the sponsor – the needs of the pension scheme are best served by a strong sponsor and any plans for the scheme should be fully aligned with those for the business.

  • An adviser – the Professional Trustee will express opinions based on their experience, but they have a duty to take advice just like any other Trustee.


What a Professional Trustee is not


How to choose a Professional Trustee 

Your Professional Trustee should be a key part of your team and so, you should approach appointing them in a similar way as you would an employee or Director:

  • Define what skills and experience are currently missing from the Trustee Board.

  • Match the Trustee’s experience to the key role that you wish them to fulfil – is it strategy, governance, management, legal, investment or covenant experience?

  • Understand which approach to chairing would be most effective with your Trustee Board and organisation and align the Trustee accordingly.

  • If experience in your sector or with your type of organisation is important, specify that as a prerequisite.

  • Ask how many other commitments the Professional Trustee has and honestly, how much time they are able to commit to you?  Could they react quickly and have sufficient time to pick up unforeseen projects?

  • Provide background information on the pension scheme prior to the written proposal and interview.  A good Professional Trustee will use this to form a view on the key issues for you and their proposed approach.

  • Your pension scheme has its own specific needs – think about how often the Professional Trustee asks about your views and relates their comments to the specifics of your scheme to indicate whether you will get a tailored approach or something more generic.

  • Think about diversity – do you have a good mix of backgrounds, approaches, skills, age, gender and ethnicity on the Board?

  • Involve the current Trustees in the selection process – they are going to have to work directly with the new Trustee as part of their team, so they must feel comfortable and accept them.

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