Pension schemes can give rise to all sorts of issues for trustees, and cannot operate without good advisers.

Using advisers is not always easy, but as trustees of a pension scheme you should think about the level of advice you need, and the way you would like this advice to be given. You should also think about the level of responsibility that advisers accept for the advice they give.

Choosing pension advisers

You need to feel comfortable with you advisers. You should ensure that you meet the people that will advise you before appointing them.

Consider an adviser's qualifications and experience, the quality of service, fees and the extent to which the adviser accepts liability for their work and the adviser's professional liability insurance. Compare a number of advisers before making a decision who to seek counsel from. Good advisers will be proactive and practical and be aware of current issues and developments.

Negotiate terms

The terms on which an adviser is appointed should be clear and comprehensive. You must read these carefully. You should be prepared to negotiate with an adviser about what their responsibilities and remuneration will be. Advisers will be used to this.

Potential conflict of interests

You must consider at the outset any potential conflicts of interest, particularly if the adviser also provides advice to the employer.

Advice that you can understand

You should ensure that advisers understand the needs of the scheme and do not use too much technical jargon. Advice should be in the format best suited to you, rather than the advisers. You should feel comfortable asking for clarification and should challenge advice you do not agree with.

You should keep advisers up to date in order to receive the best advice. Advisers need to understand the issues faced by the trustees to advise properly. Advisers should also have a good working relationship with the scheme's other advisers.

You should monitor performance and arrange regular meetings with their advisers to discuss concerns and give feedback.

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