ITS delighted to support the new Code for Sole Trusteeship

October 2020

With the creation of the Association of Professional Pension Trustees (‘APPT’), the introduction of the Standards for Professional Trustees of Occupational Schemes (‘the Standards’) and Accreditation through examination, huge steps have already been taken to ensure the highest standards of trusteeship across the UK’s occupational pension schemes, for the benefit of members.

Another watershed moment in this development is the publication of the APPT’s Code of Practice for Professional Corporate Sole Trustees. This sets out clear minimum standards in relation to:

  • Who should (and should not) undertake Sole Trustee appointments
  • Appointment, reappointment and removal
  • Independence from the sponsoring employer
  • Addressing potential Conflicts of Interest in areas such as the appointment of advisers
  • How decisions are taken

ITS has supported the development of the latest Code and fully supports its introduction. Whilst our approach to Sole Trusteeship here at ITS already aligned with the principles in the new Code, the debate and reflection that its development caused has enabled us to further refine our approach to ensure that it remains at the forefront of best practice.

The new Code also highlights the desire to bring greater diversity and challenge to the decision-making processes. Not an issue solely the preserve of the Sole Trustee model of course, but a work-in-progress for all of us. At ITS, we recognise the importance of forming a bigger team – one encompassing colleagues, service providers and advisers. This collegiate approach within a professional framework drives great outcomes and has always formed the basis of how we work.

The rapid growth in the number of Sole Trustee appointments looks set to continue. As a ‘consolidation’ strategy, it is on trend and can address the needs of many schemes and sponsors, as summarised below. Ultimately, good governance, in whatever form it takes, is the goal. The APPT’s latest Code is another tool to increase standards for the benefit of both members and sponsors.

Sole Trusteeship – where can it add value?

For members

  • Independence and member-focus
  • Professional governance standards
  • Resilience and capability in the Trustee
  • Moving scheme forward
  • Understanding best practice in terms of administration, member communication and support

For sponsors

  • Addresses Conflicts of Interest
  • Cost control / reduction
  • Business to Business-like relationship
  • Reduced resource requirements
  • Confidentiality and communication
  • Expertise and experience