Appointing a chair of the pension trustees

The following Pensions practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Appointing a chair of the pension trustees
  • What is a relevant scheme?
  • Future plan to extend the chair requirement to DB schemes
  • Who can be a chair of a relevant scheme?
  • Legal requirements
  • The Pensions Regulator's expectations
  • Professional trustees as chair
  • Trustees to appoint chair of a relevant scheme
  • Timing of appointment
  • Duties of the chair of relevant schemes
  • More...

Appointing a chair of the pension trustees


The only pension scheme trustees currently required to appoint a chair are trustees of ‘relevant schemes’ (effectively defined contribution (DC) occupational pension schemes). This requirement was introduced on 6 April 2015 through the Occupational Pension Schemes (Charges and Governance) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/879 (the Charge and Governance Regulations 2015), which inserted this requirement in the Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations 1996, SI 1996/1715, reg 22. This Practice Note focuses on this requirement.

In addition, the government is legislating to require trustees of defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes to appoint a chair and for that chair to report on the scheme’s funding and investment strategy to the Pensions Regulator (TPR). This requirement is to be introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021 and underlying regulations. For further information, see: Future plan to extend the chair requirement to DB schemes, below.

The Pension Schemes Act 2021 also seeks to extend the notification requirements applicable in relation to trustee chairs. For further information, see: Notification requirement, below.

What is a relevant scheme?

As noted above, the requirement to appoint a chair applies to schemes which fall within the legislative definition of 'relevant scheme' (which includes 'relevant multi-employer schemes'). Broadly speaking, a relevant scheme is an occupational pension scheme which provides money purchase benefits other than:

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