Trafalgar House, the pensions administration specialist, today stressed more guidance is needed to compel trustees to update important scheme literature, such as member booklets. In doing so, this could avoid complications, confusion and complaints from members.
Daniel Taylor, Client Director at Trafalgar House, commented: “Whilst guidance is in place that encourages trustees to regularly update the Trust Deed and Rules, the same does not apply for essential member communications like the explanatory booklet. Due to the lack of clear compelling guidance, many booklets have not been updated for years, sometimes decades – meaning they fail to accurately reflect important changes to the scheme. In the absence of up to date and accurate information, members are left asking questions and administrators have no choice but to rehash explanations from current copies of the deeds.
“For too long trustees have hidden behind the protection of case law that has established a convention whereby the Trust Deed and Rules will be overriding as long as this is appropriately disclosed to members – usually somewhere within the membership booklet. But this convention is letting members down, meaning that the only simple guide to benefits members have access to does not fully and accurately reflect the rules.”
Taylor added: “It is understandable that member booklets might slip down the trustee agenda following large projects such as scheme closures and changes to revaluation and sponsoring employers, but as the only document which fully explains the rules to members, it must not be neglected. Further guidance requiring trustees to update the booklet every five years, or immediately following a substantive change to the benefit basis, would certainly go some way to ensuring smoother administration processes and fewer complications for members.”