EFRP’s Pickering queries trustee training

EUROPE – The chairman of the European Federation for Retirement Provision, Alan Pickering, has queried the value of trustee training.

“I’m all in favour of training the trustees but before we spend money on training we must have a clear view on what we’re training people for,” Pickering said in an interview with IPE at a conference in Barcelona.

“I think there needs to be a realisation that we cannot train a metallurgist, chemist or engine driver to the level of these people,” he added, referring to the investment professionals at the conference. “And we mustn’t delude ourselves that we can.”

Pickering is a partner in consulting firm Watson Wyatt and the author of the “A Simpler Way to Better Pensions” report in 2002. He is a former chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds. He said that what trustees are expected to do was “inappropriate”.

He said: “I do not think that the UK model of trust law – where trustees remain responsible for delegating final responsibility, is fair.”

He added that the buck stops with employers in a defined benefit scheme where the employer backs the promise.

Last week Pickering created a stir with remarks at a conference in London which called into question the 'Anglo-Saxon' system of trustees.

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