Pension trustees doing their job

The pressure of the recession is not deterring lay pension trustees from doing their job, according to a survey by Aon Consulting.

An overwhelming 86 per of lay trustees are keen to remain in their role despite facing tougher challenges as a result of the economic turmoil. Only 3 per cent said the financial crisis had made them reconsider their positions as trustees.

Aon carried out the survey in February, polling 117 lay trustees of defined benefit schemes of various sizes. The trustees were asked a variety of questions about the concerns and fresh challenges that they and their pension schemes faced as a result of the economic turmoil.

Those newer to their trustee role had greater fears about the impact of the economy than those with a decade’s experience. Of those with less than two years’ experience in the role, over half, 58 per cent. were ‘very concerned,’ while the remaining 42 per cent were ‘somewhat concerned.’ Those with over ten years’ experience were more sanguine, with 23 per cent saying they remained ‘neutral’ on the impact the economic turmoil is having on their schemes.

Despite the greater anxieties expressed by the less experienced trustees, their appetite for the role has not been dented by recent economic and financial turmoil. More than nine out of ten, 94 per cent of those with less than two years’ experience affirmed their commitment to trusteeship within the survey. In contrast, only 82 per cent of those with over 10 years’ experience declared their absolute commitment.Milan Makhecha, consultant and actuary at Aon Consulting says: “Recent events have added to the complexities of lay trustees’ roles, including the need to monitor employer covenants and funding levels and deciding whether to ask for more cash from struggling sponsors. Our survey shows that, despite these challenges, lay trustees remain calm and focused on steering their schemes through volatile times.”