Pension fund trustees believe their boards are considerably lacking in age and ethnic diversity, a Baker McKenzie survey has found.
Only 7% of trustees believe their board membership has another breadth of voice from people of different ages, while the remaining 93% said it was "less than moderately diverse" in age.
On gender diversity, a third of schemes said their board was not at all diverse, while 50% said theirs was moderately diverse.
Meanwhile, in terms of ethnic diversity, 100% thought it was only "moderately" diverse, while 92% said they were "moderately or slightly diverse" in terms of education attainment.
The findings, while based on a small sample of around 25 trustees, come as The Pensions Regulator (TPR) consults on whether to enforce greater diversity requirements on all scheme boards amid a growing movement to improve cognitive diversity through trustees from a wider range of backgrounds.
The average trustee to take part in Baker McKenzie's survey was a 59-year-old, white, male professional trustee, with just 5% aged between 34 and 65. Around one in five were aged under 34, while 74% were over 65.
Partner Chantal Thompson said, while the diversity question must be discussed, it was also important that the requirements of different schemes were recognised.
"If more diversity achieves better governance, then we certainly need to work on that. But there is going to be a difference between your traditional defined benefit (DB) schemes and open defined contribution (DC) arrangements."
She said the focus should be on ensuring a broad representation of members and so such an approach would be more critical for large DC schemes such as master trusts, which typically have more diverse members than older, closed DB schemes."
The survey also found just half of trustees feel their skillset had informed their roles and responsibilities, while 62% believe their board would benefit from a board review.
Thompson questioned whether trustees were being appointed for their skillsets and if mandatory professional trustees would conflict with the diversity push.
"The regulator says it's not just about your CV, but there's an issue there. The regulator is saying you need to have the right level of knowledge and understanding."
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