More than three-quarters of DB pension scheme trustees say COVID-19 heralds the end of the quarterly meeting cycle, according to a survey by the Pensions Management Institute (PMI), commissioned by River and Mercantile.
The survey, which polled almost 100 trustees, found that eight in 10 respondents (79.8%) agreed that the quarterly meeting cycle had lost its relevance and that ad-hoc and online meetings had become the direction of travel.
Trustees feel they required more informational support in their roles, with more than three-quarters of respondents (76.6%) stating their scheme needed better access to tools to help monitor their investment progress and evolve their investment strategy to meet its long-term objectives. A further 84% felt that, considering technological advances, schemes should have access to real-time data on performance and attribution, including via look-through tools. Over half of respondents (59.6%) said this was a priority for them for the coming year.
Ajeet Manjrekar at River and Mercantile says: “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the best made journey plans for many DB schemes, particularly given the shift in clarity of covenant support going forward. This has led trustees to rapidly embrace technology solutions that enable them to access more timely and accurate information, putting them in control. In fact, so entrenched has this approach become that the shift to continuous governance appears to be permanent, with most trustees believing the quarterly meeting cycle has now lost its relevance.”
“The widespread adoption of technology is a welcome development, but it is important to remember that continuous governance does not mean dissecting past performance on a more regular basis. Trustees want forward looking tools that aid their decision making and information that supports their strategic and governance needs. That means advisers must not only be able to accommodate shorter, more regular trustee meetings, but also provide scheme information in a straightforward interactive format to facilitate better decision making and full transparency to stakeholders. This is key to supporting trustees in getting their scheme funding back on track”