The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) has announced the first 14 trustees to have received accreditation after completing its programme.
The trustee group said a further 40 trustees have gained provisional accreditation status and will become fully APPT accredited as soon as they are able to complete the accreditation examinations and gain final DBS approval.
The first group to receive full APPT accreditation included the industry's first accredited female professional trustee, AAA Trustee's Shona Goulds.
She said: "I am delighted to be one of the first professional trustees to receive full accreditation through the APPT's programme. Accreditation is an important step forward for professional trustees, now more than ever, and will enable us to deliver the best outcomes for our members during these challenging times."
APPT chairwoman Nita Tinn said: "We are very happy with the response received so far from the professional trustee community and are pleased that many of the applications received are from new members. The response indicates that professional trustees do see the benefits in being accredited and we expect to see the numbers of professional trustees gaining APPT accreditation increase over the coming months."
The announcement comes after the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) launched a separate accreditation regime in February and accredited its first trustee in April.
The means 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 gain accreditation, all trustees need to pass two exams - the Pension Management Institute's Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) units 1 and 2, which cover technical and soft skills - and demonstrate they are ‘fit and proper persons' through criminal record and professional reference checks.
Accredited trustees will also be required to comply with the professional trustee standards; undertake a minimum of 25 hours a year of continuing professional development.
The PMI postponed its exams following the outbreak of Covid-19 but restarted exams for CPT 2, the soft-skills exam, in a limited way earlier this month. It said it was hoping to open this up to bigger numbers in June, allowing more trustees to complete this part of the accreditation process.