Professionalism, and how the PMI is adapting to meet the needs of pensions professionals

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  • 07 mins 05 secs
Lesley Carline, PMI President, discusses issues facing pension professionals in 2019, how PMI can help these professionals and what the focus is for 2019.


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PRESENTER: Well joining me now is Lesley Carline, PMI President. Lesley, it’s good to have you with us today. So let’s start with the issues facing pension professionals for 2019, what would you say they are?

LESLEY CARLINE: I think they’re manifest in the amount of issues that we’re going to be dealing with in 2019. I think the first one is obviously Brexit. How is Brexit going to affect pension schemes, how is it going to affect employers? What happens to the markets and the knock-on effect for funding issues? And then also what happens to schemes who, or employers with schemes that have Irish members? So there’s going to be a lot to think about. And I think the major problem with Brexit is the uncertainty.

I also think that we are going to have the fallout of the Master Trust authorisation process, which ends in April. Last week we had David Fes speaking at the PMI DC symposium, and 32 of the known Master Trusts decided not to go for authorisation. So there is going to be a situation where what happens to the members of these Master Trusts who are not going to go forward. If these Master Trusts are I suppose taken in by another Master Trust, then there are liability issues that have to be thought about. But then there are those where the employer might have to think about moving their members elsewhere. So there are potentially going to be some bandwidth issues that have to be thought about.

You may have noticed that this year we have been inundated with consultation after consultation. At the moment the PMI are responding to three: CDC, dashboard and DB consolidation. And it’s all gearing up to a rather shall we say large prospective pensions bill next year, which is going to solve all our issues apparently, we’ll have to wait and see. But there is going to be a knock-on effect in getting people ready to deal with the pensions bill. I had a meeting with the Pensions Regulator this morning, and one of the directions of travel is ensuring that we I suppose comply with IORP2, and so one of the things that they’re going to be dealing with is replacing the internal controls guidance with a governance code. So they’re looking at that in the summer of 2019. But as a major stakeholder we’ll be working with the Pensions Regulator and ensuring that we have a say in what it looks like. And then one of the things that we’re going to have to do is inform our membership of how they in turn can comply with the code.

So there’s a few things to be getting on with it. And then obviously there’s the pensions dashboard. At last we had the consultation that’s come out with 17 questions, so really looking forward to seeing how that develops during 2019, and feeling very positive about it for a change.

PRESENTER: So how can the PMI help pension professionals?

LESLEY CARLINE: Well I think our role is ensuring that we are there for them for the lifetime of their careers. A lot of people know us for our qualifications, and we have qualifications that help people who are entering the profession, right the way through to people who need to top up their qualifications in specific areas. It may come as a surprise but we have 1,100 trustee members, and we also have 107 trustee boards who are members of the PMI. So we’re going to be heavily involved in ensuring that their knowledge is up to speed. And one of the things that’s going to happen during 2019 is the accreditation of professional trustees. And as a body we are in line to take over that accreditation role.

So it will start with professional trustees ensuring that they have the awarding professional trusteeship, but also then the continued development and monitoring of their capabilities, particularly around the softer skillsets. So that’s one area that we help. But also what we’re looking to develop during 2019 is the PMI Academy. And we’re moving more into training and development of members of the PMI, not just being a qualification body.

PRESENTER: So then finally what is the PMI focused on in 2019?

LESLEY CARLINE: Well if we go to back the education piece, we have during 2018 piloted our online learning capability, as in enabling members or our learners to take their qualifications online. And so during 2019 we’re looking at rolling out that right across the qualification remit, and getting to a situation where qualifications can be taken anywhere in the world. But also looking at the timing of the qualifications, during our qualification review one of the things that came across was the timings weren’t always convenient for members, because certain times of the year pension schemes are busy. So we’re looking to be able to develop more frequent qualifications, as well as more convenient qualifications. Just making them more accessible to people.

Also one thing that we’re looking at is professional standards. Shortly we will be coming out with a consultation about the professional standards, the expectations of our membership depending on their role and their experience, and that will form the bedrock going forward. And with these professional standards it will ensure that potentially employers going forward, when they employ a person who’s PMI qualified, they will know what degree of professional knowledge and experience and expertise this PMI qualified person brings along with them. But it also gives students something to aspire to.

PRESENTER: Lesley, thank you.