A large number of pension schemes are falling short of The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) governance and trusteeship expectations, according to research by XPS Pensions.
The survey - which questioned more than 100 defined benefit schemes - revealed a wide range of standards across schemes and found 79% had identified issues with their members' data.
TPR set its governance expectations in its 21st Century Trusteeship Campaign in 2017 but XPS' survey identified a lack of engagement and quality of governance amongst schemes. The regulator also this month launched a consultation on the future of trusteeship, with an aim to drive up standards.
The survey also revealed just a fifth (22%) of schemes surveyed have a plan of action should their funding level fall, and the same amount did not agree that they manage conflicts well.
While 70% of schemes said they have a plan in place to improve member data, only 42% are currently monitoring progress against that plan.
One of the lowest scoring areas of the survey was integrated risk management (IRM), with just over half (54%) of schemes saying they are currently engaging with it.
Principal Rob Wallace said although IRM has been around for some time, "trustees need to embrace it, as it is now a fundamental part of the scheme funding framework and is a valuable tool to get schemes from where they are now to where they want to be".
The lack of governance was particularly evident in smaller schemes where costs and resources are often stretched. Earlier this month, TPR executive director of regulatory policy, analysis and advice David Fairs noted "many smaller schemes are simply not good enough".
Wallace added: "Good risk management and governance is fundamental to a successful pension scheme and is key to achieving good outcomes for their members. The quality of governance varied dramatically between schemes implying the vast majority have room for improvement."
"We firmly believe good governance is key to having a well-run pension scheme and that a robust governance framework does not have to be overly onerous. The main thing for schemes to ensure is that sufficient time is spent managing important strategic issues," he continued.
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