Our Pension Executive & Management Services (PEMS) team was asked by a rural estates industry client to review its associated trustee board’s risk register as a one-off project. The register hadn’t been reviewed in depth for several years.

The need

Risk registers are considered an essential tool under ‘internal controls’, even though they’re not mentioned explicitly within the body of the General Code. 

This comes within the new guidance, notably TGB032, which states that governing bodies should carry out a prior risk assessment to understand the various risks facing the scheme and its members. It also states that the process for monitoring, recording and mitigating risk must be closely integrated with the operation of internal controls.

Client objectives

The client asked us to:

  • ensure the register captured all the risks that the trustees should be monitoring;
  • make the current register more user-friendly; and
  • make the current register more fluid and robust (so it’s easier to monitor and update in future).

The client requested for these objectives to be completed within a very short time frame so the outcome could be included in an imminent meeting agenda. Due to pressure on resources, they also requested for the work to be undertaken with minimum involvement and reviews from their team. 

Our approach

An initial meeting was held with the client to fully understand their needs. During this call, we discovered that two General Code compliant risk register templates created by us would meet their needs - the standard compliance risk register and the super risk register. 

Details of each template, images and costs were sent to the client and they decided to proceed with the super risk register, which is more interactive than the standard compliance register.

Our register identified 34 core risks – each of these could trigger an event that trustees should mitigate, manage or possibly avoid. We compared the client’s existing risk register alongside our template and looked for commonalities between the two - we were able to streamline the risks more logically under 18 headings.

We then consolidated the client’s narrative for each risk and transferred to the new template. Any content from the previous template was highlighted to make it easier for the client to review.

We scored the risks, basing this on averaging the previous impact and likelihood score across all the client’s risks that fell under one of our headings. This meant that the client had a fully populated register, which they could tailor to meet their specific needs. 

The client’s finalised risk register was provided to them with full details of the review, mapping results, instructions on how to update the register and a list of areas we had flagged for further consideration.  

A follow up call was then arranged so we could talk this through in more detail and fully explain all the information provided. 


Our team hit all the objectives set by the client and exceeded their expectations.

We identified 16 missing risks that were not captured on the client’s original risk register - these could have caused significant issues if they were not identified. 

Streamlining the client's risks under 18 headings made the process much easier for them to manage and monitor going forward, and we also reduced the narrative of each risk to make it more succinct. 

Their template now provides the standard risk register as well as full placemat, a risk response action plan and events management, which will make it more user-friendly for the trustees and easier to identify risks going forward.

How we can help you

Is your trustee board’s risk register due a review? Could you be missing risks that may impact your business? Our diverse and highly experienced team can help – we offer tailored advice dependent on your specific needs. 

If you would like to make your trustee board’s risk register more accurate and manageable, please get in touch or you can contact Helen Willcox directly, a key contributor to this case study. 

Contact us for all enquiries

For more information about the independent, expert services we provide in this area, speak to our team today.


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