The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) has announced it will allow professional trustees to become provisionally accredited in light of delays caused by Covid-19.
The APPT said, while it is still accepting applications for full accreditation, it is now also offering the interim step of provisional accreditation, noting it could be difficult for professional trustees to complete examinations and background checks at the current time.
The trade body said professional trustees could complete and submit their application form and relevant documentation to receive provisional accreditation status from today - adding that, once they are able to complete the accreditation examinations and finalise their background checks, they would be awarded full accreditation status by the APPT.
Chairwoman Nita Tinn said: "This is a challenging and uncertain time for pension schemes and sponsoring employers, which means that professional trustees are called upon now more than ever to exercise their skill and judgment in navigating through a series of difficult decisions.
"Accreditation is an important development for professional trustees which will help them demonstrate their ability to deal with the challenges, and we know it will play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing standards and securing better outcomes for all scheme members."
Tinn added: "We want to ensure all professional trustees can gain APPT accreditation as soon as possible, which is why we are accepting applications now."
The announcement comes just days after the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) announced that CBC Pension Services director Michael Clark had become the first fully-accredited professional trustee in the UK.
Both regimes are very similar - following the standards published by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) in 2019 - and requiring trustees to pass both a number of background checks in addition to both units of the PMI's Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT).