Administration is one of the areas of running a scheme that trustees delegate to another party. Whilst trustees do not usually administer a scheme themselves, they remain ultimately responsible for the administration. They therefore need to make sure that they have controls in place to check things are running properly.
It is likely that a scheme will have a number of administration policies in force. These might include, for example, early retirement policies and details of the approach taken in relation to death benefit discretions. Any policy must be clearly documented. These policies need to be reviewed periodically to ensure they remain appropriate – this should be timetabled within the scheme’s business plan.
Trustees will normally receive administration reports every few months. The trustees and/or pension managers of some bigger schemes will have direct access to management information from the administrators’ systems. The information included will be different for DB and DC schemes although there will be some overlap.
Examples of topics in administration reports include:
You should read the administration report before the meeting and be ready to ask questions about anything that is unclear and to challenge anything that concerns you. If potentially serious issues are mentioned, you should consider asking the chair whether the administrators should be asked for further information in advance of the meeting.
The requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be borne in mind at all times and it is important for the trustees to obtain assurances from their advisers about how they will be met. For example, as a consequence of GDPR Barnett Waddingham uses member numbers or other unique identifiers in administration reports rather than member names.