UK - Despite many trustees not having formal backgrounds in finance, they make good gatekeepers for your pension savings, says research by the UK’s Cranfield School of Management and Watson Wyatt.

The research was conducted in response to media furore over defined benefit pension scheme closures, other scandals such as the Enron affair, and the Myners review.

It claims that nearly three-quarters of trustees have backgrounds unrelated to finance, instead ranging from general management, human resources, sales and marketing, engineering, trade unions and consulting.

The research finds that being well-qualified and financially well-versed do not necessarily determine the quality of trustee performance. Attributes such as open-mindedness and willingness to learn are just as important. It also reveals that the most training received by trustees at the moment generally amounts to no more than three days.

Says co-author of the report, Andrew Kakabadse: "despite trustees feeling conscious of their shortcomings, both independent and corporate trustees felt able to keep up with decisions and considered that they had the appropriate skills in pension management to administer their funds effectively."