Insight & Analysis

Press release: Pension heavyweights seek to fix ‘outdated’ trustee model

Published: Apr 2021

22nd April 2021 – Renowned independent trustee Ray Martin has joined forces with fellow industry leaders Kevin O’Boyle, a BT and GlaxoSmithKline pension veteran, and Adrian Furnell, an experienced pension manager and accredited professional Trustee, to form HS Sole Trustees – the first dedicated Professional Corporate Sole Trustee (PCST) firm.

Newspaper press release

With recent high-profile cases highlighting the importance of quick and expert action from trustees in securing members’ benefits and investment opportunities, Martin believes the traditional trustee board model is now unfit for purpose in meeting many employers’ desired journey plan for their pension scheme.

His new venture, HS Sole Trustees, seeks to strengthen the relationship between schemes and sponsoring employers by providing access to high-calibre professionals who can act as a sole trustee and move at the pace needed to suit the best interests of both the sponsor and members alike.

HS Sole Trustees will support UK companies (including UK subsidiaries of multinational firms) on every aspect of achieving their scheme’s endgame, working with the existing administrator, actuary, investment consultants and legal advisers to ease the burden of governance, compliance and reporting requirements and, where appropriate, undertaking reviews of service providers.

Martin has acted as an independent trustee to high-profile pension plans across the public and private sector for more than 25 years. His career in corporate pensions management spans 40 years, during which he has worked for companies including AstraZeneca, Deutschepost DHL, Diageo and Natwest Banking Group.

Commenting on the launch, he said: “The trustee role has never been more complex. Coupled with increased pressure on sponsors and scrutiny from the regulator, it is harder than ever to recruit appropriate member – and even employer – nominated trustees, so we think the traditional trusteeship model is not always fit for purpose.

“For companies with a burdensome and potentially vulnerable scheme, the ability to act quickly and effectively while time is on your side is essential, but not always possible when you have a trustee board with lay members that you need to keep trained and knowledgeable, and can be constrained by its meeting schedule. We therefore saw real opportunity for a specialist firm who could do things differently and expeditiously, working closely with the sponsor for the benefit of members.”

“A growing number of schemes have been moving to a sole trusteeship model in recent years but, with HS Sole Trustees, our aim is to offer the sponsor dedicated and accredited professionals who understand the business, can strengthen the sponsor-scheme relationships, and ultimately know what it takes to deliver good outcomes for all parties. And since sole trusteeship is all we do, our team will be independent and completely un-conflicted.”

Joining Martin as a director is Kevin O’Boyle. Before launching his own consulting business, O’Boyle was Head of Global Pensions & Benefits at BT for 13 years. Over the course of 40 years, he has held in-house roles running the pension schemes of firms including RSA, GSK and GEC Marconi. O’Boyle commented: “Having had lengthy careers working with corporates on both sides of the table, Ray and I know first-hand the challenges of balancing different priorities and interests – and how frustrating it can be when decisions take longer than necessary to be pushed through. I am so excited to play my part in improving the current way of doing things and helping more firms secure the benefits for their pension scheme members in the quickest and most effective way possible.”

Also part of the team launching the business are: Adrian Furnell, a pensions manager and accredited professional Trustee who sees sole trusteeship as an opportunity to seek out innovative, creative solutions to drive continuous improvement alongside value for money, to meet the needs and expectations of both members and sponsors; Peter Jones, who has spent 30 years providing pensions administration and secretarial services to DB and DC schemes; and seasoned pension professional Steve Goddard who co-founded pensions consultancy Goddard Perry and is also a director at pensions campaigning group Pension Playpen.

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