Since the 2008 decision in Gregson v HAE Trustees Limited, individual trustees and directors of a corporate trustee are no longer exposed to the same risk. While a member will find it difficult to sue the directors of a corporate trustee of the pension scheme, it would be much easier to pursue individual trustees. Even the best run schemes expose individual trustees to risk and trustees are unwise not to take action to reduce their risk exposure in this area especially given a number of recent legal cases – Greenup & Thompson, Ashridge Ltd and Kemp vs Sims – all of which have seen trustees, who were also company directors personally fined for their actions.
The options open to trustees would be to either establish a single purpose trustee company which would provide trustees with more protection as they would be acting as a corporate rather than individual trustee. These arrangements can be set up very quickly and cost effectively. The other option is to appoint an independent professional trustee which as well as other benefits provides even greater protection, especially in light of the Warwick vs Rangers Pension Scheme ruling which saw individual trustees exonerated for their actions as there was a professional trustee in place.