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PSGS were overall more professional than others.
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Bangor University
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Express Newspapers

Is this the electronic push trustees needed?

Some of you may remember my article from 2018 where I talked about the benefits of technology in pension trustee board meetings. If you haven’t seen it, you can find it here: PMI Pensions Aspects: I work in pensions.

In these unprecedented times, those trustee boards which had already made the ‘electronic’ jump have seen their meetings largely unaffected apart from virtual, on-screen attendance, which I will come back to. In the past few weeks, pension trustee boards who were reluctant to make the switch have now been forced to as printing and posting is just not viable at the moment.

I know many begrudgingly made the switch and were thinking this would only be temporary. However, the feedback I have received from them has been overwhelmingly positive “this is very easy to use”, “can we load past meeting papers on here?”, “what else can this electronic meeting pack system do?” are just some of the quotes.

Let us see your good side…

What’s really helped everyone here - both trustees who already had electronic packs and those who have only just made the jump - is video calling. Before lockdown, I found video calling was only a backup option for those one or two individuals who could not make it to the face-to-face meeting. There was a general sense video calls would not work well and would slow down meetings.

Personally, I’ve been an advocate of video calls for a couple of years. The services now provided really are pretty good. Since being in lockdown, I’ve used several video conference facilities and largely they are the same. Some are easier to access and don’t require special applications on your system and work better with your microphone and camera.

My pension trustee boards have found video calls to be extremely useful and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing friendly faces at this unusually isolated time. Video and voice quality has been surprisingly good, so credit to the broadband providers for keeping us all going.

It’s making us all more efficient

One of the best aspects of some of these online meeting facilities is the ability to screen share. It is effectively the same as someone standing in front of the meeting and talking you through a document. The advantage here is if they say, “let me check that”, with on-hand access to their work system they can do so instantly!

I’ve also found board meetings run quicker, trustees are better at keeping to the subjects being discussed and side discussions have fallen away. Travel time of course has been abolished, which really does help all.

Will those pension trustee boards that have moved to electronic meeting packs stick with them? Will we see more video conference meetings in the future? I will wait and see. (I hope so!)



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