For the United States of America, 4 July remains a celebration of the Declaration of Independence.

And this side of the Atlantic there’s another kind of independence that I think needs celebrating - the positive impact independent trustees can have on the savings of employees around the UK.

So where does independent oversight play a part?

Whatever type of pension arrangement you have, there can be either an independent governance committee (IGC) or Independent Trustee looking after it. Professional trustees with in-depth pensions expertise and experience often provide the service to the IGC or trustee board and we should celebrate the impact I believe, from my experience, they’ve had to date:

• Reducing the number of schemes that don’t provide value to members – particularly those with unreasonable charges

• Improving member outcomes from pension savings through investment returns and member engagement

• Reducing the risk to employers from pension arrangement not aligning with the business strategy or regulations

Independence has led to these changes not just through the expertise of the individuals involved but due to the removal of commercial constraints and putting member interests first and foremost.

And whilst our US cousins are partying to commemorate their historical independence, don’t all these pension achievements for the future sound worthy of celebration too? I certainly think so. It might not feel like it for many today but come 5, 10, 15 years’ time I think many pension savers will be grateful for the positive impact independent trustees may have had on their savings.

So, on the 4th July 2019 let’s set off some fireworks (safely of course!) to celebrate those individuals in the industry who are working to improve the futures of millions of workers.

However, we pensions, benefits and HR professionals should not rest on our laurels. We and the leaders of the IGCs and Trustee boards need to keep striving for the future and pushing our industry to modernise and innovate.

Here are some thoughts on how 21st Century Trustees need to pull the pensions industry into the 21st century:

Bringing pensions into the day to day


Use of technology to reach young investors


Guidance and support through important decisions


If you’d like to talk about how independent input can help your employees save for retirement, or how to engage with members on what they need from their pension savings vehicle, please get in touch.

Posted by Stuart Arnold

Topics: dc pension schemes, trust-based

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