Most company pension schemes in the UK, such as the Lifestyle Plan, are set up as trusts. There are two main reasons for this:
* it makes sure that the pension scheme's assets are kept separate from those of the employer. This is important for the security of members' benefits.
* it is necessary to gain most tax advantages associated with pension schemes.
Who appoints the Trustees?
The Company appoints three Trustees, with another three trustees being elected by the active members.
Who are the current Trustees?
Chris Elliott - Readers' Editor, Guardian
Suzy Black - HR Director, Guardian Media Group
Andy Beven - GN&M, London
Graham Bennett - GN&M, London
Paula Tsung - GN&M, London
The trustees normally meet four times a year. At Trustee meetings if any question requires decision by a vote, this is by a simple majority with the Chairman of the meeting having a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.
Trustees' duties and responsibilities
Trustees have a number of very important duties and responsibilities, including those listed below. In practice, the trustees delegate some tasks, e.g. GMG Pensions Department handle the administration and most of the communications to members.
* acting impartially, prudently, responsibly and honestly and in the best interests of all beneficiaries
* acting in line with the trust deed, scheme rules and the legal framework surrounding pensions
* appointing suitable professional advisers (as specialist advice is often required)
* keeping financial and member records and ensuring the right benefits are paid on time
* providing information to members, beneficiaries and prospective members
* informing members of their choices at retirement
* holding and taking records of meetings, decisions and transactions
* keeping Lifestyle Plan assets separately from the company assets
* approving the audited annual report and accounts within seven months of the scheme year end date
* resolving any member disputes
* taking investment decisions (in accordance with their statement of investment principles)
Focus on Investments
The role of the trustees is to provide an appropriate range of funds and to review the investment strategies of the various funds from time to time, but it should be stressed this does not include the trustees trying to forecast investment market movements.
It is important to understand that in a money purchase arrangement, such as the Lifestyle Plan, it is the responsibility of members to ensure that the funds in which they are invested are best suited to their individual requirements.
Knowledge and Understanding
Each trustee must have knowledge and understanding of:
* the law relating to pensions and trusts
* the principles relating to the investment of the assets of pension schemes
* any other matters as may be prescribed by The Pensions Regulator
Each trustee must be familiar with the Lifestyle Plan documents:
* the trust deed and rules
* the statement of investment principles
* any other important document recording the current policy adopted by the trustees in relation to the administration of the scheme generally