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The importance of trustee board meetings

Trustee board meetings are a very important part of maintaining regular oversight of the running of a scheme. As a 21st Century trustee, you should ensure that adequate time is allocated to discussing important strategic issues as well as scheme specific issues needing immediate attention.

Running effective trustee meetings is essential for good scheme governance. It ensures timely -decision making, improves scheme efficiency, and can help lead to good member outcomes. 

How to do it

An agenda should be compiled and circulated to the board at least two weeks before the meeting. You can use your scheme’s business plan to help focus the agenda points on strategic issues. For more information on producing a business plan, visit our 21st Century page on clear purpose and strategy

For meetings to be productive and effective, you should arrive prepared to discuss each item on the agenda. It’s particularly important that you’re clear on the decisions that need to be taken and the process for making those decisions. You are accountable for the decisions you make and you should make sure that you have access to all of the relevant information before acting.

Minutes should be taken at every meeting, paying particular attention to any decisions made, the reasons behind them, and any action points that need to be taken away.

An experienced and professional trustee secretary can help you to efficiently manage your meetings so that nothing is missed.

In general the topics that should be covered at most board meetings include:

  • apologies for absence
  • conflicts of interest
  • approval and signature of minutes from previous meeting
  • actions arising from previous meetings
  • investment performance and strategy
  • risks to the scheme (new and existing)
  • administration including discretion cases and complaints
  • member engagement, including communications 
  • sub-committee decisions
  • trustee and adviser fees and expenses (ie budget monitoring)
  • any decisions made since the previous meeting
  • trustee training
  • business plan
  • notifiable events
  • any other business

Trustee boards should meet often enough to maintain effective oversight and control, which in most cases will be at least quarterly

The role of the Trustee Chair

The trustee chair should encourage open debate during the meeting, and guard against any single viewpoint dominating the discussion. The Chair or trustee secretary should also aim to keep the discussion relevant and allow enough time for questions.

Check your governance

Does your board meet at least quarterly? If not, do you understand how your board’s meeting frequency is appropriate to the size and complexity of your scheme?

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