Fifty-nine per cent of UK schemes, an increase of 12% on 2007, were paying at least one trustee signalling a shift in sentiment towards proving that trustees are independent.
Mercer added that it was still unusual for more than one to receive compensation for their efforts, though. Schemes managing £250m or more in assets were more likely to pay trustees. Mercer also found there had been an 11% increase in 2008 of pension schemes remunerating trustees “because they demanded it”, compared with 28% paying them in order to recruit and retain them, or in some cases to bring in someone with specific expertise.
One-third of schemes reported difficulty attracting individuals to their scheme as trustees.
Mercer thought this due to a perception that the role is too time-consuming and difficult with 65% of respondents citing this as the reason, followed by fear of personal liability with 13% of the vote.
“Numerous issues are pushing the industry towards independent trusteeship. Schemes are recognising that trustees should regard themselves as directors of multi-million pound businesses,” says Rachel Brougham, Mercer’s governance team principal. “The thorny issue of remuneration remains: it may be that trustees are becoming more demanding as their role becomes tougher.”
The survey also found that while 45% of pension schemes in the UK provided their trustees with job descriptions, 71% had no such guidance for their chair of trustees despite an increase legislative, regulatory and economic pressures on the operation of schemes that a written job description could help them navigate more effectively.
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