UK - Simplification Review head Alan Pickering is giving his backing to the Trustee Code of Practice campaign.
Pickering says the code – which will be launched in London on June 13 – will “complement” his review and “allow lay trustees to punch their weight more powerfully”.
Pickering met work and pensions secretary Alistair Darling this week as part of a series of top-level discussions on the content of his review. It is understood that the meeting has also involved NAPF chairman chairman Peter Thompson, ABI director general Mary Francis and TUC general secretary John Monks.
Pickering said: Anything which helps lay trustees play to their strengths – rather than being intimidated by the detail – is positive for the industry.
Founding chairman of the Trustee Code of Practice Brian Holden – who is also a member trustee at the CIS Pension and Death Benefits Scheme – said Pickering’s support was a major boost. Holden now hopes the government will also recognise the initiative.
He said: “In the past, trustees have had to adopt whatever rules and guidelines the industry and the government has thrown at them, while sitting on the sidelines. But if trustees are going to continue in the running of pension schemes in the future – particularly under a mooted new Pensions Act – then they must be involved in the entire process.”
Holden was scheduled to meet with pensions minister Ian McCartney yesterday to discuss how the code can be incorporated within the government's other pensions initiatives.
The meeting is also an opportunity to update McCartney – who has been a keen supporter of the code since its inception last summer – on how trustees can play a more direct role in the decision-making process affecting their conduct.
Holden added: “If a new Pensions Act is the main thrust of the current reviews, then it may well solve many of the problems of the future. But I believe the Trustee Code of Practice is an essential component and is needed now.”
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