Home and Dry?

13 Dec 2021

The status quo

With a destination in sight many trustee boards are trying to ensure that they get there as quickly and safely as possible. So what should you do if your radar screen goes blank? Your Pensions Manager wants to retire and you need to replace the person responsible for the day to day management and direction of the scheme.

This was the challenge for one of our clients. They came to us for ideas about how they could keep their destination in sight, without the knowledge that had been acquired over many years. While undoubtedly not unique circumstances, these can be very unsettling times; especially if the person leaving has become the eyes and ears of the trustee board and knows the whole history of the scheme. We worked with the trustee board and outgoing Pensions Manager to identify the best way forward.

Bobbing around

No-one likes a period of uncertainty. Often the easiest way forward is to do what has always been done. However, it was best for our client to think about what they wanted to achieve and make sure that they were on the best course.

The client was able to reflect on their requirements for the future, not simply resource on the basis of what has always been done and they decided to outsource the pensions management and trustee secretarial support. We were then able to support a search of the market to identify the best equipped service providers. During the selection process we worked with the providers to ensure that they had a clear understanding of the requirements. After all, it is in everyone's best interest to get a good match. Having received several high quality proposals from providers, the strongest candidates were invited to meet with the trustee board face-to-face. The trustee board went on to appoint their preferred candidate.

The new crew

As a result of thinking through their needs afresh, the trustee board identified a strong requirement for contract and relationship management skills. They were able to make sure that the new provider could deliver the exact skills and understanding, following their careful scoping out of the market for the required services and addressing any potential conflicts.

Lastly it was important for the trustee board to remember that they still ‘sat at the Captain's table' and ultimately as such were responsible for the whole ship. They put a process in place to review and evaluate their new equipment.

Key learnings

  • Take time to identify any resourcing ‘sand banks' ahead of schedule. It is so easy to sit below deck, only to peep out and find you have almost run aground.
  • Analyse your resourcing model to identify any key-person risks and plan to resolve them. Actions or changes you take now may not need to be dramatic.
  • The market is changing and there is a high degree of flexibility in the solutions available.