Find out first hand, what it’s like being a professional trustee at PTL from Alison Bostock, Client Director.
What do you do?
I act as a trustee to a variety of pension schemes both defined benefit and defined contribution, as well as group life schemes. I also serve on PTL’s Governance Advisory Arrangement.
But what does that really mean?
For the pension schemes, it means working with any other trustees, the professional advisers and the sponsoring employers to run the scheme and work towards achieving its longer term objectives. For the group life schemes, it means using my discretion as trustee to determine who should receive the lump sum payable on the death of an employee.
The PTL Governance Advisory Arrangement (GAA) is appointed by 13 different providers of workplace pension schemes, which are usually Group Personal Pensions. Our role is to act in the interests of the members and report on the value for money delivered to members.
What are the most interesting aspects of your role?
My background is mainly in defined benefit schemes and what interests me is the sheer variety of possible solutions to the challenges of funding and investment.
But I also enjoy working on the GAA, as this is a completely new form of DC governance, introduced in April 2015. It has been both challenging and fascinating to work with the committee and the various providers to develop our framework for assessing value for money and prepare the first annual reports in time for the deadline of 5 April 2016.
What skills/qualifications do you need to be a client director at PTL?
You need a professional qualification – in my case I’m a qualified actuary but since joining I’ve also taken PMI qualifications in Pensions Trusteeship and DC Governance to make sure that my knowledge remains up to date and relevant to my role.
In terms of skills, you have to be able to balance many conflicting calls on your time and use your judgement to make decisions when needed (sometimes very quickly). You need to be able to chair a meeting effectively, but also be capable of actively participating if you aren’t the chairman.
What sets PTL apart from other firms of Professional Trustees?
I’m in my first year here and it struck me immediately how everyone really does work as a team to support each other and deliver great client service. For each appointment, there is a shadow client director who can act as a sounding board or provide a second opinion. There is also a scheme manager, to make sure that the day to day work keeps moving forward when the client director has a week of back to back meetings. There is a real culture of sharing experience and knowledge, and using what we know to innovate and develop new services.