UK - Paul Myners says he disagrees with European Federation for Retirement Provision chairman Alan Pickering about the future of trustees – though the NAPF said its former chairman had raised an “interesting point”.
Speaking at a bond conference earlier this week, Pickering - chairman of the European Federation for Retirement Provision and a partner at Watson Wyatt - called into question the 'Anglo-Saxon' trust-based system.
Asked whether he supported such ideas, Myners said: “I don’t think so at all.” He said trustees were needed “who make sure that they are familiar with the subject they talk about and get themselves up to date”.
Myners is the author of a government-backed report on institutional investment which called for the greater professionalism of trustees. Such ideas were included in the new Pensions Bill - which the government itself acknowledges will place more “onerous duties” on trustees and others involved in pension management.
Under the bill, individual trustees “must have knowledge and understanding” of pension and trust law as well as the principles relating to the funding of occupational pension schemes, and the investment of the assets of such schemes.
Pickering, a former chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds, argued at the conference that the UK government was trying to make lay trustees deal with too many complex issues.
A spokesman for NAPF said: “We think that Alan Pickering has raised a very interesting point about the trustee system and we recognise that there are pros and cons."
"What is important, is that we examine all the issues with trustees and funds and go forward".
A spokesman for Watson Wyatt said Pickering was only referring to defined contribution, not defined benefit, plans. He said the firm, being a partnership, does not have a “house view” on such issues.