The Plumbing and Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme has appointed independent consultant Pi Consulting to conduct a review of its governance.
The scheme is seeking to understand how best to deliver an effective employer representation model, while examining the structure and function of the trustee board.
The review has been agreed between the trustee board and the scheme's three constituent organisations: Unite, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation, and the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors.
The review process will include an analysis of scheme documentation, an online questionnaire, individual and group feedback meetings, and consultation with employers and scheme members. A final meeting will take place to agree changes, priorities, and practical implementation.
A working group has also been established to oversee the project and monitor how it is conducted. Pi Consulting is due to report back in November, after which agreement and feedback will be sought for a preferred way forward.
Trustee chairman Alan Pickering said: "Plumbing Pensions' mission is to provide cost-effective, efficient and secure pensions, today and into the future, for the plumbing and mechanical services industry. I am pleased the trustee and constituent organisations have agreed to move forward with a governance review to futureproof the scheme and enable us to enhance and improve our processes and ways of working."
Chief executive Kate Yates added: "The current governance structure has served the scheme well into the past but we believe the time is right to review what the scheme needs for the future. This will ensure it continues to serve employers and members in the most effective and efficient ways possible.
"Building strong communications processes and having in place an effective forum for employers to engage with the scheme is essential for its successful operation in the future. It is also a good opportunity to review how the trustee board operates now that the scheme has close to future benefit accrual."
Future accrual in the £2bn, 33,000-member scheme ended last year, allowing it to complete a 2017 valuation showing a 102% funding level on a technical provisions basis.
However, the scheme has been dogged over recent years by complaints over the way it has handled the issuance of section 75 debt notices. The Plumbing Employers Action Group accused the trustees of "failing in their duties" by taking too long to notify employers of their potentially onerous debts, which have forced some to the brink of personal bankruptcy.
Many employers are on the hook for orphan liabilities, calculated on a buyout basis, for previous sponsors who exited the scheme before s75 legislation came into force, or when debts were calculates as nil under minimum funding requirement rules.
The issuance of s75 notices last year led to some employers raising complaints with the scheme, resulting in the trustees asking for court approval to use scheme funds to fund any legal expenses arising from the complaints, or when seeking debt payments from employers. The hearing is currently delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
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