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Recruitment and appointment to the governing body

Code in force: 28 March 2024

  1. Trustees and scheme managers should have processes in place to exercise any powers they have in recruiting and appointing members to the governing body. This also applies to public service scheme pension boards. Please also see Arrangements for member-nominated trustee appointments.
  2. Many schemes will have governing bodies where appointments are made by the sponsoring employer or in accordance with scheme-specific legislation. In these cases, the governing body, or pension board, should seek to inform those making the appointment of the expectations and any legislative requirements placed on members of the governing body.
  3. The governing body may wish to consider good practice approaches to make sure its recruitment practices are inclusive. It is important to regularly review the governing body’s membership to ensure a diverse spread of members with varied technical skills and experience.
  4. Our expectations for appointing service providers and advisers can be found in Managing advisers and service providers.
  5. Processes for appointing members to the governing body should have the following features:
    1. Be clear who is responsible for the recruitment, selection, and appointment process.
    2. Include any input required from other parties.
    3. Identify gaps in skills and competencies across the governing body and how these can be addressed within a defined timescale.
    4. Have a succession plan in place to maintain the skills and competencies needed by the governing body to operate properly.
    5. Document the principles for determining any remuneration of members of the governing body (see Remuneration and fee policy).
    6. Document processes to deal with temporary and extended absenteeism for members of the governing body.
    7. Have a resignation and removal policy which provides clarity on who can remove a member of the governing body, under what circumstances and the steps for doing so.
    8. Follow any scheme rule or regulation requiring representation1 of certain bodies or groups and have a process to ensure this is maintained.
    9. Include a procedure for appointing a chair (see Appointment and role of the chair).
  6. When recruiting members to the governing body of a relevant multi-employer scheme, further requirements will apply. The governing body of a relevant multi-employer scheme2 must:
    1. follow specific rules on representation and independence of the trustees, including restrictions on how long a trustee can remain in post as a non-affiliated trustee
    2. have at least three trustees, or where there is a sole corporate trustee that isn’t a professional trustee body (a professional trustee body is treated as one trustee), that trustee must have at least three directors
    3. appoint non-affiliated trustees in an open and transparent way
    4. have a process in place to encourage scheme members, or their representatives, to speak up about matters that affect them

Legal references

1 Section 5 of the Public Service Pension Act 2013 and [section 241 and 242 of Pensions Act 2004]

2 Section 1(2) The Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations 1996 [Regulation 1 Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997]