The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has announced that CBC Pension Services director Michael Clark has become the first fully-accredited professional trustee in the UK.
PMI chief executive Gareth Tancred said the announcement marked the beginning of a "new chapter" for professional trusteeship - noting he hoped that more accreditations would follow despite the disruption caused by Covid-19.
He said: "While many trustees hoping to complete the accreditation will have seen the process hampered by the impact of Covid-19, we are pleased to announce that we will be rolling out our online multiple-choice exams from May.
"This will start with the PMI Certificate in Pensions Trusteeship Unit 2 (soft skills exam), followed by Award in Pensions Trusteeship, Certificate in DC Governance, and Retirement Provision Certificate. In the meantime, we encourage all professional trustees to make as much headway as they can with their applications, so that they will be able to hit the ground running in completing the final accreditation exams."
Tancred added: "Professional trustees play a crucial role in pension scheme governance and as industry professionals, it is within all of our interests to strive for ever-improving governance standards to drive better outcomes for scheme members."
Michael Clark said he was pleased to have completed the accreditation process. He said: "I believe that the continued drive towards increasing the professional behaviour and standards for all trustees will stand the industry well in dealing with the current and future challenges which face pension schemes and their sponsors.
"As accredited professional trustees we can demonstrate to members, fellow trustees and scheme sponsors that we have the necessary skills to run what are increasingly complex pension schemes."
The announcement comes after The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) and PMI launched separate accreditation regimes in February - meaning professional trustees can choose to be either APPT accredited or PMI accredited.
Both regimes are very similar - following the standards published by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) in 2019.
To hold the PMI accreditation, professional trustees needed to pass an initial application, which includes:
- successfully completing the latest TPR Trustee Toolkit
- passing the PMI's Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) Unit 1 (more commonly known as the Award in Trusteeship and previously known as the Trustee Certificate)
- passing the PMI's Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) Unit 2 (a new examination designed to assess a candidate's soft skills)
- complying with ‘fit and proper' requirements based on TPR's Master Trust requirements
- passing a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
- providing proof of credible and relevant employment history within the industry for the past five years
- supplying references from two reputable figures within the industry, such as an existing accredited professional trustee, a pensions lawyer or a scheme actuary