Acting as secretary to pension trustees
Produced in partnership with Mark Baker of Pinsent Masons
Acting as secretary to pension trustees

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Mark Baker of Pinsent Masons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Acting as secretary to pension trustees
  • Change in the role of secretary
  • Who carries out the role of secretary?
  • Running trustee meetings
  • Progressing scheme work between meetings
  • Conflicts of duty for the secretary
  • Secretary of a corporate trustee

The role of secretary to pension trustees has changed dramatically in recent years and is important to the smooth running of a scheme. This Practice Note explains the legal and governance considerations for anyone appointed to that role.

Change in the role of secretary

The way that trust-based pension schemes are run has changed greatly over the past decade, and with it the role of secretary has taken on a new importance.

In past decades when there was less concern about pension scheme funding and a lighter regulatory framework, the secretary might well have been a silent minute taker. But the extra work that is now demanded of pension trustees and the greater expectations placed on them mean that more is now expected of a secretary.

The secretary will generally play an active role in the running of the scheme—certainly in the trustee meetings and in organising work between those meetings.

In some cases the secretary to the trustees will be visible to the pension scheme's members, either as part of the team of people running the scheme or even as a point of contact for the membership.

The points in this Practice Note apply for defined benefit and defined contribution schemes alike. While trustees tend to find governance issues more time consuming in a defined benefit scheme, the role that a secretary can