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Navigating the key issues facing schemes in 2021

An enjoyable and lively discussion. Thanks to PMI and R&M for the opportunity to take part! There are clearly many challenges facing trustees (and their advisors) both from an investment and a regulatory perspective.

Alan Baker - Trustee Director, LawDeb

Alan's key takeaways

  • Covenant is king and where sponsors are under pressure it's important to have a clear and current view of how that's developing as things can change quickly. That said, there are certainly ways for trustees and sponsors to work together to be pragmatic around recovery plans to reduce the pressure on cash right now but also to recognise the need for security and protection for members.
  • Trustee meetings have changed and have got more focused and technology has helped us work together more effectively with up to date investment data rather than last quarter’s results in a meeting pack. This has been especially valuable for Corporate Sole Trustee cases where interactions tend to be more real time anyway. But it's true for all boards in volatile times.
  • And of course ESG where it's about being pragmatic in terms of what you can achieve and documenting that in the SIP / implementation statement, but then focusing on really delivering those commitments. Some form of roadmap / journey plan is a good way to deliver as opportunities arise. And whatever your size you should be taking seriously, even if you’ve just got passive equities there are sustainable indexes already available.

Finally, we should also recognise that the new normal of shorter targeted meetings does need some down time and a chance for boards to connect socially and recharge so it's worth the odd Zoom coffee / beer / wine as well!