Reading Steve Delo’s comments in Professional Pensions Magazine almost brought out an audible shout of ‘yes’ from me. Slightly embarrassing when you’re in the quiet carriage on the East Coast line. But it deserves a ‘shout out’ for its plain common sense.
Delo is saying trustees are getting too caught up in form filling and box ticking so as to lose sight of the bigger picture and the need to concentrate on the really important stuff.
In my experience, the box ticking/compliance led/admin and member gripe led trustee meetings are far too common. In the same article, Richard Butcher suggests some consultants use the box ticking items in the meeting to hide behind. Yes, I’ve seen that too on occasion. Although, in defence of the consultants, it’s often a risk-averse company that insists on discussing the business plan details at every meeting and recording every minutiae in the minutes. Maybe I just worked for some overly detail obsessive employers.
More time is needed on reviewing investments and understanding investment alternatives. Governance reviews and membership analysis needs more of a look in.
What we don’t need (in my humble opinion) is more box ticking initiatives such as the ones proposed by the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA), where we are about to get new admin codes of conduct. And they have the temerity to say they are going to release different codes of conduct every year! (Audible groan in the Quiet Coach for that bright idea).
Yes, Mr Delo, I fully agree. Trustees spend far too long on documentation and box ticking. And it’s not helped by well-meaning industry pension types suggesting even more codes and directives.
Don’t tick the box; run the scheme.