Last week I was up in Edinburgh at the PLSA Investment Conference. I attended lots of very useful sessions but I must admit there was one that surprised me.
Critical Friends - The Need for Straight Talking discussed the importance of trustees and consultants having a candid relationship. The presentation said many consultants are hesitant in delivering constructive, developmental feedback to trustee boards for fear of alienating their clients.
It was also highlighted that some consultants feel they would be blamed by their colleagues and firms if they are seen to be stirring up trouble with their clients.
I would like to thank Royal Mail Pensions Trustees' Chris Hogg and Redington's Paul Richards for a presentation that I found thought provoking but also pretty depressing.
Is it really the case that with all the money being paid in fees that consultants feel inhibited in delivering constructive advice and that trustees will not listen to it?
Is it really the case that with all the money being paid in fees, consultants feel inhibited in delivering constructive advice and trustees will not listen to it? Surely delivering such advice where needed goes to the very heart of the trustee/consultant relationship? What else are schemes paying out money for?
I know there is a fine line to be walked between delivering hard truths and being offensive but it is possible. Similarly, understanding when someone is telling you something difficult for your own benefit is hard but can be done.
A situation where schemes are paying out money yet receiving little benefit cannot go on - it's definitely time for straight talking between consultants and trustees.
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