Results of the latest annual survey are in...
Barnett Waddingham is pleased to continue as the research partner for the 2021 edition of the Winmark Pension Chair Remuneration Report. It is good to see the scope of the survey and the number of respondents increase once again this year.
Last year, the majority of Trustee Chairs expected remuneration to remain stable from 2019 to 2020, and so it has proved as shown in the chart below:
Once again the report shows no apparent gender pay issues (with the women Chairs surveyed again receiving higher average remuneration than the men, as for previous years) as you can see in this chart:
In terms of this year’s priorities, although the key high-level strategic issues of de-risking and endgame planning remain important, there is also an increased focus this year on regulatory demands (no doubt reflecting the recent volume of new pensions legislation and Regulator guidance).
ESG also features more prominently this year, which I expect reflects Trustees reviewing their investment principles, as well as considerations of future climate-related financial disclosure requirements.
The full list of priorities can be seen in the chart below:
Last year, very few Trustees expected to have to change their long-term goals in light of the Covid pandemic, and this sentiment continues to hold true 12 months on.
However, there has been a significant impact on the operational side, with a majority of schemes seeing an acceleration of technology adoption, and expecting a permanent adoption of virtual meetings for at least some Trustee meetings, and increased cybersecurity threats due to hybrid working models, as shown below.
Continuing a theme of recent years, Trustee Chairs continue to look for increased diversity in their Trustee Boards. Chairs continue to cite a lack of candidates coming forward as the main barrier (although to a lesser extent than in 2020).
One positive step is that nearly half of schemes are already implementing or planning to implement a review of recruitment screening and search processes, and a similar number are already implementing or planning to implement a review of language, style and methodology used in recruitment material.
However, schemes are much less enthusiastic about recruitment quotas or appointing a person specifically responsible for diversity as shown below: