Goode Report: Employees should get more rights on trustees: Members' Interests

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The Independent Online
THE recommendations designed to give employees greater involvement in their pension schemes were described as a step in the right direction by the group formed in the wake of the Maxwell affair to represent fund members' interests, writes Roger Trapp.

However, Bill Day, secretary of the Campaign for Pension Fund Democracy, said they did not go far enough. The proposal that a third of the trustees of final-salary schemes and two-thirds of money-purchase schemes should be scheme members was unlikely to satisfy the general public. Yesterday the organisation - supported by trade unions and pension groups - published a Mori poll showing that nearly three-quarters of pension fund members believed that they should control decisions.

'The issue is one of ownership,' he said. While the committee had taken the employers' line in trying to deal with the conflict of interests involved, it was more accurate to see the funds contributed by companies as part of employees' pay packages and therefore for them to control.

In addition, he was concerned about the employer's retention of the right to wind up schemes even if scheme members did not agree.

However, advisers generally welcomed the recommendations - which also call for employers to be barred from vetoing scheme trustees and for member trustees to be given paid time off for training - as a sensible balance between the interests of the employees and those of the employers.

Peter Ward, chairman of the national pension fund sector group at Coopers & Lybrand, said he was particularly pleased that trustees should have the power to appoint the scheme auditor, actuary, fund manager and advisers.