The launch of two accreditation regimes for professional trustees into the industry at the same time is both unnecessary and confusing, says Dalriada Trustees.
In a blog post on its website today (25 February), the trustee services provider said The Pensions Regulator's (TPR's) push for better governance is now at risk.
This comes two weeks after both the Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) and the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) announced they would launch two separate accreditation regimes.
Dalriada Trustees said: "We are now in a position where there are two programs which has led to confusion and frustration among the pensions industry and the two incredibly similar regimes could potentially cause confusion and undermine the benefits an accreditation programme was meant to bring to pension scheme governance."
The APPT and PMI had previously been working together on establishing an accreditation process that was due to launch in July last year, based on the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) framework.
Dalriada Trustees added: "The accreditation process is there to ensure those acting as professional trustees meet minimum standards, providing pension schemes with reassurance that professional trustees will make a real positive difference to the running of those schemes. However, whereas in the past an accreditation regime did not exist at all, now there are two. Further, these two accreditation processes are very similar, and they seem to be competing with each other."
Both regimes will follow the same PTSWG standards that are now being maintained by the APPT and will require applicants to pass two core PMI exams. Both regimes will also require very similar due diligence checks with the only apparent difference between the two accreditation processes set to be the administration and cost.
Dalriada Trustees director Tom Lukic said the provider's "strong preference" was for a single accreditation process; it will put its professional trustees through the APPT's process, but said it remains "supportive of the PMI".
"With a choice of accreditation regimes now available, professional trustees are having to carefully consider which they want to follow," Lukic added.
"They are two incredibly similar accreditation regimes which is unhelpful to the industry [and] could potentially cause confusion."
The standards outlined in the accreditation framework that both the APPT and PMI have followed come as part of a long-term effort to ramp up governance standards across schemes after TPR amended its definition of ‘professional' in 2017.
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