Find out first hand, what it’s like being a professional trustee at PTL from Paul Stanbridge, Client Director.
What do you do?
I am a client director of Pitmans Trustees Limited (PTL)
Great … but what does that really mean?
As a client director I am responsible for providing trusteeship trustees to a portfolio of clients, with support from other managers and assistants. Perhaps surprisingly, all the clients I manage have defined benefits schemes, although all are now closed to new members and further accrual.
For some clients I sit on the trustee board as the professional trustee representative, whilst for other PTL are appointed as sole corporate trustee. I oversee all the key services required to operate schemes on an ongoing basis, which involves working with the scheme investment advisers and fund managers, the scheme actuary, administrators and auditors. I also have some direct contact with members.
What are the most interesting aspects of your role?
Working closely with the employer contacts is very enjoyable. I find they really welcome the skills and knowledge of a professional trustee. My clients generally have a responsible attitude towards legacy pension schemes. That said, is important to remember they are busy people and the operation of the pension scheme is a very small part of their daily role. Unsurprisingly most have limited knowledge of the complex issues affecting their scheme. I find they value the role we perform and are reassured that I take the lead to ensure the scheme complies with the wide range of pension law and regulations.
My role is far from routine. Legal changes are frequent and require a proactive approach. Structural changes within several of my clients’ business operations have required covenant reviews, legal changes to the governing rules and negotiation with employers on financial mitigation to protect the rights and interests of the scheme members.
What skills/qualifications do you need to be a Client Director at PTL?
A Client Director at PTL is required to have a professional qualification, but equally good people skills are vital to performing the job well.
I have worked in the pensions industry for many years and in my earlier career I obtained the FCII and AMPI qualifications. However, importantly I have undertaken trustee qualifications in recent years as it is vital to keep developing your knowledge base. Personally I believe of greater value is the practical experience I have gained in working in the pensions industry during which I have seen the rise and fall of defined benefits schemes, which has proved invaluable in dealing with my portfolio of clients.
What sets PTL apart from the other firms of Professional Trustees?
This is a tough one about which to be entirely objective. However, what I have witnessed during my 7 years at PTL is a team with vast experience across the breadth of the knowledge issues we require. Offering a highly professional service is a given. I find collaboration amongst colleagues to solve problems happens freely in a relaxed and friendly environment. Our senior management strive to ensure PTL are at the forefront to understand change and identify the wider opportunities where there is a need for trusteeship services to protect pension scheme members.