This week's Pensions Buzz respondents agreed the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is sometimes right to vote against company voluntary agreement (CVA) proposals.
The 105 participants also answered questions on trustee board diversity, the delay of industry issues, and trustees' attention to their own governance.
The majority (60%) of this week's 105 respondents agreed it is sometimes right for the PPF to vote against CVA proposals. Of these, one commentator said: "If they don't then they are only rubber-stamping the CVA proposals and this then raises the question of ‘should the PPF exist at all?'"
"If an alternative CVA is possible that would be better for the scheme or if the pension scheme will get more in liquidation, then it should vote against the CVA," said another.
A further person suggested the lifeboat fund is right to vote against CVA proposals when they are not in the interest of the PPF or the members of the pension scheme.
Of the 7% who disagreed, one doubted the PPF has "enough insolvency and commercial knowledge to judge whether a CVA is reasonable or not. There is a risk the PPF will vote judging purely from a pensions perspective."
One third (33%) of respondents were unsure, with some suggesting it depends on the situation and the particular issues of each case.
Of GMP equalisation, collective defined contribution (CDC) and the pensions dashboard, 68% of this week's respondents said delaying the former would concern them the most.
Of these, one commented: "Having established that it has to be equalised, there is no excuse to delay. For some it will be a significant increase or payment that is due."
Another said: "We need to sort this as soon as possible as delays will add to the history for correction - tax clarity is the most important need."
"GMP equalisation has the most immediate impact on funding/operation so takes priority," added another.
Delaying of the pensions dashboard was cited as a concern by 27% of respondents, with one suggesting it is "desperately needed for people with patterns of multiple DC pots who will struggle to keep track of them all".
A different person said: "This is long overdue and with many small pots being accrued due to AE and mobility of employment, this is becoming really urgent."
Just 5% of respondents said delaying CDC is the most concerning.
Respondents were split on whether the term ‘self-sufficiency' should be replaced with ‘low dependency', with 34% agreeing, 29% disagreeing and the remaining 37% not knowing.
Of those who agreed, one pundit said it more neatly described the reality, while another argued it would only make a little difference. "How we communicate what it means is important - many of our peers are unable to adequately articulate any pension terminology," they said.
Many of those who disagreed argued as long as the term is understood, the name doesn't matter.
One commentator said: "Don't worry about the label - you may as well call it ‘first step to buy-out' - just make sure the right discussions happen."
"‘Self-sufficiency' can be measured, is an important milestone for schemes and understood by members. ‘Low dependency' as a replacement would be synonymous with a worse funding ambition," another said.
One commentator who was unsure about the change said: "The cynic in me is wondering whether the consultancies are positioning something so they can present it as different and then charge a fee for it."
The vast majority of respondents (82%) did not believe there should be quotas for the proportion of male and female trustees on boards, with many suggesting appointments should be based on skill rather than trying to improve diversity.
One said: "Positive discrimination is never the best way of dealing with this sort of issue - education on understanding diversity and ensuring a fair/objective selection process makes more sense."
"Trustees should be operating in the interests of all members and having a thorough understanding of any questions or problems means they should be able to make decisions on fact. Get the right people for the job, not the right sex," said another.
A further commentator said by setting quotas you risk "not finding enough people interested enough in taking on the job and at the same time losing out on those that are but are now excluded".
Just over a tenth (13%) however did agree there should be diversity quotas on boards, with one suggesting: "Age and ethnic backgrounds should also be a key factor."
Two fifths (41%) of respondents did not believe trustees pay enough attention to their own governance.
Of these, one suggested: "For many, it seems to be a tick box thinking that if they follow a checklist then it'll all be fine. Perhaps trustees should go through the same fit and proper process for company directors and if they fail, they are required to step down."
A further pundit said they do in larger schemes, but not in smaller schemes "due to practical restraints".
A practicing board secretary said they often see trustees "pointing elsewhere forgetting their own!".
Of the 37% who thought trustees do pay enough attention, one said: "The well governed schemes do. However, there are a number of boards that still don't value the importance of governance or devote enough time to improving how they operate."
Another said it depends on the scheme but they "choose to believe that the majority of trustees do their best."
Meanwhile another said while they cannot comment for all trustees, in their experience it has "improved dramatically in recent years".
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