“PSGS offered the right support at very short notice, at reasonable cost, when we really needed it”
“Very professional and engaged service.”
“PSGS was chosen because of their knowledge of the subject and awareness of our particular schemes.”
“Clare Owen has been a really excellent scheme secretary”
“They are very proactive and full of new ideas, they've brought better scheduling and better minute sets.”
“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. ”
By ‘we’ I mean UK pension schemes. We, as in PSGS, clearly do – our pension scheme secretarial team are central to our business – but what about more widely?
A while ago we wrote a white paper on the value of a specialist pension scheme secretary. I’ve just checked and, crikey, it was 2013! The Trustee Report from mallowstreet got me thinking about this again recently and, although time flies, I think what we said then still holds true.
Mallowstreet’s research shows only c35% of pension trustees rely upon scheme secretaries to fulfil their trustee job duties (and only c25% rely on pension managers). With more like 95% relying on consultants/advisers, as mallowstreet highlighted, that’s serious under-utilisation.
The Trustee Report showed chairs of trustees and lay trustees are 20-25% more satisfied with resources when they rely on their scheme secretary. Feedback from our own clients tells us the three characteristics most important to them in an effective trustee secretary are accuracy, proactivity and working well with the pension scheme advisers.
Around the same time as our white paper, we did some research into the perceived relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of provider of pensions management support. As you can see from the charts, pension/actuarial consultants score highly on knowledge and experience and depth of resource but poorly on cost.
A specialist scheme secretary on the other hand combines the best of both worlds, with their ability to drive efficiencies counteracting any cost implication. Their independence is also critical in managing relationships with scheme advisers effectively – it’s important to clients and something a consultant/adviser providing other services simply cannot do.
So, the value of a trustee secretary is real but hard to nail down. The odd statistic here and there helps but doesn’t create or sustain the message. Neither does the fact much of that true value comes from things that are tricky to measure objectively. As a good pension scheme secretary makes sure everything is picked up and runs smoothly, their value is sometimes only appreciated if you lose them and everything goes pear-shaped!
What we need is for all you scheme secretaries to get out there and really start blowing your own trumpets. After all, you’re worth it.
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