Study Shows UK Trustee Deficit

March 14, 2002 ( - There is a potential problem brewing in the UK over the "insufficient" qualifications of pension-fund trustees, according to a new study.

The survey, by consultant Watson Wyatt and the Cranfield School of Management of 106 UK pension trustees found that few have any investment background.

Worst off, according to the study, are participant-nominated trustees with a third of respondents unable to report any relevant qualification. Researchers found 41% had “tentatively-related management” or investment qualifications.

Not only is there a deficit in trustee backgrounds, only 35% of trustees don’t undergo a regular performance review. In addition, only 17% said they get reviewed according to formal procedures already in place.

“More needs to be done in order to cope with the demanding and complex pensions environment that most agree is emerging,” said Philip Robinson, a Watson Wyatt senior consultant. “Greater competency development, more delegation to expert advisers and the institutionalizing of investment committees are clear needs.”