Caledonian NewsOpinion

What are the trustees doing? – BHS & Tata Steel Pensions

It was bound to happen almost like night follows day, in this case BHS, Austin Reed and now Tata Steel, yes its pension schemes back in the news and as always never in a good light.  The headlines and commentary continually point the finger at the employer and/or owner of the business but no one appears to asking “what are the trustees doing?”  After all a defined benefit scheme is run by the trustees and NOT the employer.  Until that is government gets involved.  An extremely concerning development is the one suggested by British Steel Pensions Scheme Trustee chairman Allan Johnston in an article in CtyAm.com that business secretary Sajid Javid was exploring options outside of the Pensions Protection Fund in a bid to tackle the firm’s £485m deficit.

Whatever the truth behind this, the real concern is that the government appears to be attempting to side step the trustees, taking away their ability to manage the scheme and even bypassing the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) as former pensions minister, Steve Webb said in the same article “you can protect those steel workers and pensioners, but if you drive a cart and horses through the existing pension protection regime while you’re at it then that’s a big price to pay.”

Jobs are important, and without a solvent employer then any pension scheme is in trouble, but that’s what the PPF, The Pension Regulator and above all the scheme’s trustees are there to do.  Never has it been more important to have knowledgeable independent and professional trustees working for the scheme and its beneficiaries.

About the Caledonians

Caledonian Trustees Limited is a privately-owned professional independent trustee company, based in Essex, UK. Our clients include household names and some that you may never have heard of but big or small we pride ourselves in offering a flexible, cost effective and relevant service each and every time . The Caledonians have many years of experience in pension, employee benefit consultancies and life companies which means we  understand the challenges that you face.

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Source: City AM – Tata Steel pensions proposals “drive a cart and horses through pensions protection” says former minister