UK - Trustees will be able to gain a master's degree in their profession under a new initiative being introduced by the National Association of Pension Funds.
The NAPF will offer a postgraduate degree in trusteeship, as well as a diploma and honours degree for second and third-year university students, if there is enough demand.
The move follows the launch of the NAPF’s new Trustee Competence Certificate at its annual conference – a 20-week programme that will be offered entirely online in partnership with the Cass Business School, part of London’s City University.
The course, which will require 60 to 80 hours of study, will cover 10 modules on subjects including the role of trustees, types of pension schemes, types of benefits, financial issues and investing scheme assets.
NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish said the course, which she described as “affordable”, would feature online tutorial sessions from leading industry figures, a bulletin board enabling forum discussion and a final examination.
Academic director of the programme, Cass Business School professor of pension economics David Blake said: “I want people to work on a whole hierarchy of training programmes so if there is a demand we would like to have a diploma above the certificate then look towards a masters degree.
“The certificate is the first step in a longer range of incentives that will lead to a high level of programmes at a postgraduate level – something that is notably absent in the UK pensions arena.”
Mercer Human Resource Consulting European partner Adrian Lamb welcomed the initiative: “It is clearly vital that trustees are well informed and educated about their legal responsibilities and the rules of their particular pension scheme.”
However, Trustee Code of Practice chairman Brian Holden said ordinary trustees should have been consulted on the new programme.
“At what point were the views of ordinary trustees considered? Nobody has asked them. If the NAPF was to set up a new initiative for actuaries it would have consulted with actuaries.”
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