Which will be the VHS accreditation and which will be Betamax?#pensions https://t.co/6x1VADbb4C
— Mike Harrison (@HigherEdActuary) February 13, 2020
It’s been an interesting week for pension trustees. It began with an announcement from the Pensions Regulator that it was not going to require schemes to employ a pension trustee, continued with the amendment of the Pension Schemes Bill that could require trustees to be mandated to display the carbon footprint of a scheme (and change things if it isn’t progressing in the right direction) and ends with the announcement that they will have not one but two professional accreditation services to sign up to.
On this final point there is an obvious question, one asked by the editor in chief of Professional Pensions
Why do we need two accreditation regimes for professional trustees?
— Jonathan Stapleton (@jonstapleton) February 13, 2020
As I understand it, the Association of Professional Pension Trustees which has heretonow been seen as part of the PMI is now divorcing the PMI. The relationship is still advertised on the PMI website but I understand we will not be seeing the two organisations as one for long. By the time you press this link – it may be broken
My understanding that the cause of the schism was the APPT’s wish to offer accreditation bundled with a membership of the APPT while the PMI saw accreditation as a standalone service. In short, the answer to Jonathan’s question is that we have two accreditation regimes because the APPT and PMI have fallen out with each other over the commercials.
It is unfortunate for trustees who are seeking to deem themselves more professional, that this should happen at this time . The job of pension trusteeship is highly valued by the Pensions Regulator and by those who manage pension schemes. In many cases , the professional trustee is instrumental to the scheme’s existence. This is the case with DB (where the existential threat is the loss of the employer covenant) and in DC where the threat is the failure to gain or the capacity to lose master trust authorisation.
I am not interested in , and in no position to, apportion blame or praise to either the PMI or APPT, but at a time when we are looking to consolidate, the creation of two rival accreditations is particularly unfortunate.
Like London busses, actuarial institutes, darts federations and of course video formats, two isn’t better than one and time will consolidate.
For now, we have to accept that a choice of accreditation is better than no accreditation but on Valentine’s Day, I’m sorry to report that the PMI and APPT appear to have fallen out of love with each other.