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What is a trustee?

To obtain certain tax advantages, pension schemes must be set up as a trust with the pension fund assets held separately from the sponsoring employer. 'Trustees' hold this property in the interests of 'beneficiaries'. In pension scheme terms, trustees hold the assets of a scheme for the security of members' benefits.

Main duties and responsibilities.

Many people misunderstand the role of a trustee. Whether a trustee is appointed or nominated by the company, a trade union or by any other method, they must administer the scheme on behalf of all beneficiaries. They are not appointed to serve any one particular group and should not have any sectional interests. Their primary role is to ensure that benefits are paid in line with a scheme's trust deed and rules and governing law. In the British Steel Scheme, the sponsoring employer sets the terms of the trust deed and rules. This means, for example, that the trustees do not decide which earnings are pensionable, the level of company contributions, early retirement terms, or the nature of benefit improvements.

The list below details some of the trustee's duties and, as you can see, it is a demanding role: