Younger voices on trustee boards are becoming increasingly required - and important - to "reflect and respond to savers' needs", according to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's (PLSA) Caroline Escott.
Speaking at Pensions & Benefits UK yesterday (26 June), the association's policy lead for investment and stewardship said schemes must "look at the composition" of their boards and, while each scheme is different, different approaches should be taken to encourage younger people to join trustee boards and increase diversity.
Speaking with her on the 21st century trustees panel were Schroders solution manager and trustee Sophie Dapin and Citrus member-nominated trustee director Tom Foot.
Dapin suggested scheme boards should be looking at cognitive diversity, rather than the more obvious measures like age and gender, when trying to diversify boards. She noted the importance of having "lots of different voices round the table" and ensuring there is "equal input" and "sufficient challenge given" from all people on the board.
In terms of engaging people, Foot said social media is crucial, yet said he has not seen "a huge amount of activity regarding pension trustee boards", adding: "It would be nice to see more master trusts engaging with [social media] because it is a way to get out to younger members and the wider general public."
"Diversity is becoming more prevalent, and engaging with members and boards on how to better diversify" is increasingly important, he continued, adding schemes need to "look at the qualities of your board, not just qualifications."
Escott noted a key to ensuring diversity is thinking about getting diverse speaker panels. She said this "requires measuring and monitoring of diversity" and deciding which characteristics you want to diversify.
Dapin said the "crux of what we do is delivering people their pensions", going on to say it is "incumbent of people in the industry to spread the message and make people aware" of the trustee boards and the ways they can join, regardless of age or gender or any other characteristics.
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