Trustees kept in dark by their advisers when it comes to data says Spence

Will Davison

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UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists Spence & Partners today said that many data problems suffered by schemes are down to advisers withholding information and issues from trustees in fear of it jeopardising their appointment.

Mark Johnson, Head of Data Audit & Analysis at Spence, commented: “As part of the procurement process many schemes will be offered free data cleanses and audits under the transition of scheme information between advisers. However, in lots of cases this gets parked to one side while the bigger transition takes place and never ultimately gets completed. The result of this is that a number of legacy data issues are transferred across to the new adviser and remain unresolved. The new adviser is often then reluctant to raise any data issues further down the line, as it would highlight the work they had not undertaken as agreed. This is happening a great deal in the industry and affected trustees are unaware.”

Johnson continued: “As we all know, the Regulator has included good record keeping and data as part of its guidance for trustees. But if the trustees are being kept in the dark they may think they are in a stronger position than they actually are and could be unwittingly failing in their governance duties.  To avoid this, trustees should be challenging their advisors far more and not be put off by paying for data cleanses. Although data cleansing exercises can have a sizeable cost implication for schemes, trustees will actually reap the rewards as they will gain efficiencies in other areas. Over the long term having more accurate data will not only save problems further down the line, but also a substantial amount of money.”