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Wicks asks PMI to set up forum for trustees

Pensions minister Malcolm Wicks has asked the Pensions Management Institute to co-ordinate the establishment of a trustee panel to advise Government thinking.

Speaking at the PMI spring conference in London last week, Wicks said that he wanted to take into account trustee views as well as giving them the support and acknowledgement that they deserve.

Wicks said the panel would have the advantage of being politically neutral whilst at the same time listened to at high Government level.

The panel is intended to advise the Government on issues such as investments in a post-Myners’ report world and difficulties faced in managing conflicts of interest within the trustee body.

Wicks’ speech also focused on the issue of member-nominated trustees. He suggested it was not unreasonable to say 50 per cent of trustees should be member-nominated. This will be a subject for the panel to debate.

Wick said a healthy, evidence-based debate was needed within the industry in the hope of getting a consensus for the way ahead.

PMI president Roger Cobley welcomed Wicks’ speech and said the institute wanted to work with the Government to restore industry confidence.

There are no concrete plans as to when the panel will come into force, although it is thought that it will be active within four months.

Wicks said: “The strength of this panel will lie in the fact that it will be completely independent of Government but will have access to me on a regular basis and as such give a voice to trustees of all sorts at the highest level.”

A National Association of Pension Funds spokesman says: “We welcome this announcement. It is good news that the Government is showing a willingness to listen to trustees who play a central role in pension provision.”

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