Types of pension trustees
Types of pension trustees

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

  • Types of pension trustees
  • Individual trustees v corporate trustee
  • Individual trustees
  • Corporate trustees
  • Corporate trustees set up by the employer
  • Impact of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015
  • Advantages of using a corporate trustee
  • Appointment and removal of directors
  • Execution of deeds
  • Protection from liability
  • More...


Individual trustees v corporate trustee

The most common trustee structures used for trust-based occupational pension schemes are:

  1. individual trustees. For more information, see individual trustees, below

  2. a company acting as sole trustee (commonly known as a trustee company or corporate trustee). For more information, see Corporate trustees, below

The trustee structure which best suits a scheme depends on the particular circumstances of the scheme. The choice of trustee structure is a decision which typically belongs to the employer.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of using a corporate trustee, which are set out in Advantages of using a corporate trustee and Disadvantages of using a corporate trustee, below.

Typically, it is more common to find individual trustees where a scheme has only a small number of members and a single benefit structure. For larger, more complex schemes (eg with multiple sections and benefit structures), employers usually prefer to have a corporate trustee in place (with a professional trustee acting as a director of that corporate trustee).

However, there has been a trend for employers to change the trustee structure of their scheme from individual trustees to a corporate trustee, in particular since the 2008 case Gregson v HAE Trustees which suggests that directors of corporate trustees are less exposed to personal liability than individual trustees (see Advantages of using a corporate

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