21st Century Newbie! While not being a new member nominated trustee, being the newest member of the committee of the AMNT does qualify me as a “newbie” in some sense.
Facing a new challenge has shown me once again that when a new chapter in life begins you realise that there are always new things to learn. I very well remember the time that I was welcomed as a new MNT to my very first trustee board meeting. A mixture of nervousness, excitement, but trepidation too, at the realisation of the responsibilities I had taken on.
While the mechanics of meetings and the board I was now a part of were easy to adapt to, realising the amount of knowledge I now needed was quite daunting. The pressure to do the best I could, provide value for members, allocate time from my day job as well as knowing I had lots to learn, were just some of the challenges I faced.
The first challenge was where to get the knowledge I needed. True, my fellow trustees were a great help as I could draw from their experiences, but as for any form of structured training resources it became clear that I had either to pay for them, or rely on the limited free resources available.
So, I discovered a minefield where some resources appeared free until you needed the details, only then to find there was a cost associated with accessing, with many providers offering events and courses that you could pay for. Alternatively there were free resources like the regulators toolkit and the result of your own searches to gather resources to afford you the knowledge you needed such as media, books and networking at events and conferences.
I was also challenged by the need to allocate my own time and resource to this. While I have a very accommodating employer, others may not be as fortunate, despite there being a requirement to allow trustees sufficient time to discharge their duties.
Time and funding can be scarce resources when you’re a member nominated trustee, so is there an argument for a more formal recognition that they should be recompensed for their activities? The jury is certainly out on that one.
I certainly realised very quickly, that I couldn’t achieve the levels of knowledge and understanding I needed without a lot of support from many areas.
So that’s my experience and each day I learn more, but what will the “newbie” trustee of the 21st century have to face when starting out that I didn’t.
Well change is here to stay, so keeping up will be key. This is certainly the perceived view of the regulator who clearly understands that the pension’s landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, and there is no reason to believe that change will stop, as it’s still evolving in a number of areas.
This year’s budget being no exception. It’s also fairly certain that there will be a greater expectation that knowledge and understanding will not only have to keep pace with the fast changing world of pensions, but that this progress will become increasingly monitored and measured, with the extreme possibility of their removal from the board if they fail to keep pace.
Will there be a push toward more formal training for trustees? Possibly, and in my view a good thing. You take on an enormous responsibility as a trustee, and as a member nominated one, this is done willingly, because you want to.
The future of the “newbie” will certainly be more turbulent but ultimately rewarding for those trustees who choose to take up the challenge.
By Peter Sparkes
AMNT committee member
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