“Thanks for all your help!”
“The work that has been done has been delivered beyond expectations.”
“The Trustee Training course is very good. Excellent coverage of material presented in an easy-to-digest manner and quality of presentation by both presenters. ”
“They deliver above expectation when the scheme has a particular challenge.”
“Where PSGS are appointed to act in conjunction with an existing body of trustees, we have found that they are quickly able to fit in well and gain the trust and respect of their co-trustees. ”
“When requesting information by email, I have noticed that there is 'out of hours activity' to answer me. I regard this as a stand out 'above and beyond' - impressed.”
The Audit & Assurance Faculty (AAF) first published guidance on internal controls for pension scheme administrators (AAF 01/06). This was followed by AAF 02/07 for pension trustees, which required independent trustee firms to demonstrate they operate sound administrative and accounts procedures (amongst other things).
Why put yourself through it?
Participation in AAF 02/07 is not mandatory, but is necessary for professional pension trustees who want to be on the Pension Regulator’s (tPR) register, like PSIT and HR Trustees Participation in the AAF audit process is also necessary to be considered for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) trustee panel (HR Trustees is a panel member), as being on the tPR independent trustee register is one of the PPF panel requirements.
We found the process invaluable. As we recorded processes and discussed controls with the auditor we had to refine our approach, sometimes putting in place formal procedures and forms where previously we had an unwritten understanding of what was required. With formal procedures now in place, standardised approaches and documents, we ensure everyone works to a uniform high standard
What does the AAF process demonstrate?
The Pensions Regulator sets a total of 25 objectives for the way pension trustee services are delivered , which include:
The process for meeting each objective is set out, controls have been applied by an independent auditor and these controls are tested annually. They apply to defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pension schemes, sole independent trustee appointments and where we are a member of a board of pension trustees. If all the controls are met, no exceptions are recorded. I’m proud to note that our last AAF audit had no exceptions.
So, whilst in the beginning we were inclined to think AAF was a tick box exercise, having just completed our fifth audit we know, in practice that this is not the case. An AAF audit may be a time consuming process, but it is worth the effort having helped improve our practices and procedures that enabled us to provide a better, more assured service to clients.