The In-House and Public Sector Committee looks at key considerations when a solicitor is asked to serve as a pension scheme trustee.
An invitation to serve
What should the in-house solicitor do if asked to serve as a trustee of a pension scheme for their employer’s staff? Like the position with directorships, there is no regulatory rule or guidance on this question in Ireland. In principle, therefore, in-house solicitors are free to serve as trustees of their employers’ pension schemes.
As one of a small group of individual trustees, or as a director of a corporate trustee, a pension scheme trustee’s duty is to safeguard and invest the scheme’s assets for the benefit of its members, as well as administer the payment of pensions. As the title ‘trustee’ suggests, the position carries fiduciary responsibilities. Trustees are also regulated in their role directly by the Pensions Authority.
Pros and cons
For the in-house solicitor, the advantages of acting as a pension trustee can include gaining experience in the area, having a direct influence on a key benefit for employees, and demonstrating added value. It also comes with disadvantages, including potentially conflicting duties and interests, or higher exposure to personal liability.
In the latest instalment of the Gazette’s regular column on in-house issues, the In-House and Public Sector Committee looks at the potential issues in detail, and how to reduce any negative impacts where a solicitor chooses to serve.
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