UK - Key members of the Pensions Management Institute will meet next week to discuss the possible formation of a professional body for independent trustees.
The “exploratory meeting” has been organised in an attempt to solve some of the issues professional trustees face and test the water for setting up a splinter group.
PMI president Ian Eggleden confirmed the meeting was taking place but said he was unable to give out any specific details.
But a source close to the PMI told PP that the notion of setting up a trade body for professional trustees was on the agenda. The PMI already runs a forum for trustees to exchange ideas – open to both lay and professional individuals – but it stops short of being a dedicated body.
The move has been described as “long overdue” by industry commentators who have widely criticised the lack of regulation and licensing that exists for trustees.
OPAS chief executive Malcolm McLean said: “We have concerns at OPAS over independent trustees and how they operate. If the PMI was to create a code of practice that would be a positive thing.”
The PMI offers a trustee accreditation which is attained through a 90-minute multiple choice test. It is not intended as a measure of professional conduct but merely to show an active interest in the subject.
The pensions ombudsman, David Laverick, has also been outspoken over the need for a body of corporate and independent trustees and is said to be backing the initiative.
However, a number of independent trustees have expressed concerns that forming a professional body for trustees is simply a “knee-jerk reaction” to a problem that does not really exist.
One independent trustee said: “I’m not convinced there is a burning need for a trade body for independent trustees.
“Anyone suggesting that there should be a trade body needs to justify it.”
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