Almost half of pension scheme managers have to work long hours and only a minority feel appropriately skilled, according to a poll.
A survey by professional-services consultancy Barnett Waddingham reveals that 47% of pension scheme managers are working additional hours to manage their workloads. Only 16% feel they have the expertise and resources to deliver additional technical projects.
As a result, the poll shows that 61% of managers would seek external resources to deliver projects such as third-party pension and executive management services. Nearly a quarter (23%) would try to delay projects, while 32% would “struggle on” and accept that they cannot finish everything.
A third of pension scheme managers keep up with industry governance best practice by learning on the job, while 37% attend adviser seminars and 35% are supported in taking professional exams such as those sponsored by the Pensions Management Institute. A total of 49% have external governance advisers.
However, 33% of pension scheme managers have done no succession planning. A total of 49% have links with an “external pensions resource” to help fill short-term gaps and build a long-term strategy, while 21% expect to find staff members within their companies.
Trustee support resources were cited as the biggest challenge facing pension schemes in the coming months by 39% of managers, while 35% pointed to trustee board skills, effectiveness and succession planning. Administration data, delivery quality and member experience was the third biggest challenge, cited by 32% of managers.
“As we approach a transitionary period in the pensions industry, where increasing numbers of pension managers are nearing retirement, it’s clear many are still facing rising work pressures,” said Barnett Waddingham principal and senior pension management consultant Christine Kerr.
“As a result, we’re seeing a worrying amount of pension managers who have been unable to put solid succession plans in place to pass on the baton to the next generation.”