Pension scheme trustees are benefiting from training support from employers with just one in ten surveyed saying they are not sufficiently trained to do their job, according to research1 from MetLife Assurance Limited (“MetLife Assurance”).

The study shows 93% of trustees surveyed are happy with the support for training offered by sponsoring employers and 90% believe they have enough knowledge and training to carry out their duties.

The small knowledge gaps identified by MetLife Assurance’s research included demand for a “wider range of training” with some respondents saying “not all trustees are highly IT competent” while others complain of constantly having to “chase the game” due to legislative changes.

Wayne Daniel, Chief Executive Officer at MetLife Assurance said: “The pace of legislative change and the external challenges to pension scheme funding mean that trustees need support in order to perform their duties and it is encouraging that employers are ensuring that it is delivered.”

What may be of more concern is the expected rate of turnover in scheme trustees over the next five years, with one third of those surveyed (34%) expecting to leave their post. Of those, around 57% will retire while 10% say their term of office will end and 17% expect a change in job will mean they can no longer remain a trustee.

Of the two thirds of those surveyed who expect to remain as trustees for the next five years, 74% have plans in place to de-risk their pension scheme, of which, 77% are considering a buy-in or buyout.

Wayne Daniel continues: “We found no evidence that trustees are giving up their posts because of the pace of legislative change or because they are worried they are not receiving enough training. However with a third of trustees surveyed reporting they will be leaving in the next five years, it is important that schemes have succession plans agreed to replace the knowledge and skills that may be lost once experienced trustees retire, step down or move to new roles. A possible solution would be to work with a professional trustee company to ensure continuous support and knowledge is maintained on the trustee board.

It takes considerable time and effort on the part of trustees to ensure their knowledge remains current, so it is vital that suitably qualified individuals are identified as possible successors when trustee vacancies are identified and that the industry continues its focus on providing quality trustee training.

It is crucial that sponsoring employers and trustees work in partnership to manage their pension schemes, identifying risks and agreeing suitable long-term strategies. Ensuring good member outcomes and finding solutions to meet the unique needs of each scheme will be the aim of both the employer and trustee – this process will only be made easier if all those involved have the required level of training and support”.