Good governance is at the heart of scheme management and is about efficiently running a pension scheme in the correct way for all parties involved. Good governance does not happen by accident. It is the application of sound principles and having the right structure, tools and processes in place to allow informed decisions to be made, recorded and held up to scrutiny. Business Plans and Risk Registers help achieve this, with communication to members being paramount.
But what about the stalwart of good governance – the traditional trustee meeting?
One of the key ways to achieve good governance has traditionally involved everyone with an interest in a scheme’s governance getting together to discuss and agree actions. This involved meeting in person, dressed in suits/dresses, having sometimes travelled half the country to attend and carrying paper meeting packs (having carefully read and digested their contents beforehand).
Then along came Covid-19, which forced us to change the way we did things. The traditional trustee meeting became impossible. Of course, Covid-19 did not change the need for good governance. But it required us to change our approach to it.
How could we make a virtue of this necessity?
We couldn’t go to the meeting, so the meeting had to come to us. We had to get smarter! Now, meetings are being conducted virtually, but securely, through Microsoft Teams (other platforms are available). No more early rises or time wasting at the airport, and much more environmentally friendly. Subject to a reliable broadband connection, a click to join the meeting and you are able to chat to all your scheme colleagues anytime and anywhere through audio or video, no downloads necessary. All key documents, such as meeting packs and minutes, can be securely hosted and are easily accessible to all in the meeting.
Using Teams, you can decide how much you want to do online and you can still email documents pre- and post-meetings should you wish. Alternatively, you can use the secure meeting area to host documents. You can collaborate with colleagues and get their input in advance to help set the agenda. Everyone can add their own documents and can have their own actions throughout the meeting. You are able to view, download and edit documents throughout the meeting with a full audit trail. You can also manage and track tasks and decisions made.
Working in partnership with trustees, employers and advisers has now got a whole lot smarter, but without compromising in any way what is ultimately at the heart of all this work – good governance! And, not a red-eye in sight!