Katie Ivens, partner at Pinsent Masons and Chair of Trustee Training Part 1, gives us the lowdown on what to expect in 2022.
What will be the biggest training priorities both for new and more experienced trustees over the next year?
Alongside ESG, in my view the topic of good scheme governance remains as relevant and important as ever, particularly in light of the pending revised Single Code of Practice from the Pensions Regulator and the requirements for schemes to have an “effective system of governance” (ESOG) and an “own risk assessment” (ORA). These new requirements will challenge existing scheme governance models and trustees will need to consider whether their own arrangements require amendment.
A knowledge of what best practice governance looks like will be crucial for trustee boards, particularly those who may not have the benefit of an independent professional trustee or the support of advisers well-versed in this area. Whilst experienced trustees may be more familiar with the core aspects of good governance, this is a fast paced area with best practice developing all the time, so remaining up to speed will be important, particularly if their respective boards are relying on the benefit of their experience.
The focus on responsible and ESG investment is as intense as ever. What should trustees prioritise in their training on ESG?
ESG is a vast area and is growing by the day. Trustees should therefore prioritise a good grounding in the basics, seeking out independent training that enables them to gather different perspectives, understand the core principles and question their advisers.
If there are individuals on your board who have an affinity with this topic, be that from prior experience or otherwise, they should be encouraged to develop their knowledge and understanding further, so they can share the benefit of that with the wider board. Similarly, schemes with investment sub-committees should ensure that any non-trustee sub-committee members also receive appropriate training in this area.
Trustees should be reassured, however, that they are not expected to become experts in what is clearly an extensive and complex field. Instead, the focus should be on why this matters and what steps trustees, as responsible custodians and investors, can take in moving towards a more sustainable future.
How can new and experienced trustees benefit from the PLSA's training offering? What types of training are available and how can trustees access these? What makes the PLSA's training different from others?
The PLSA offers a wide range of independent training developed and delivered by experts in their respective fields. Trainers are selected for their knowledge, enthusiasm and desire to help you succeed. Sessions are in-person, flexible and come with a comprehensive set of supporting materials, ensuring you can continue to benefit from the training long after the session has been completed. Trainers are provided with attendees’ relevant background, experience and expectations, so they can tailor sessions to the participants. The PLSA also seeks regular feedback, enabling the training to be continuously refined and remain market leading.
Find out more about the PLSA's trustee training programme.