According to Code 08 of the Pensions Regulator, occupational-based pension schemes are required to have at least one-third of the board of trustees as member-nominated trustees (MNTs) or member-nominated directors (MNDs). These trustees represent the views of scheme members and contribute to the successful running of the scheme.
The trustee role is therefore extremely important, requiring highly skilled and knowledgeable candidates. Sometimes, pension schemes can find it challenging to achieve a contested election, as member engagement may not be particularly strong within the scheme. Schemes with poor engagement sometimes fail to attract candidates with the necessary credentials to become prospective MNT/MNDs.
To overcome situations like this and to encourage scheme members to come forward, scheme administrators should work with a credible election provider to ensure their election objectives are being met.
Careful planning of MNT/MND elections
In order to get the maximum participation from members, engagement is critical before and during the nomination stage. Your election services provider should work with you to meticulously plan your election timeline, suggesting potential engagement opportunities and techniques at each stage of your process.
Communicating with members
Your membership will encompass a diverse range of individuals and is likely to have grown significantly in the past few years due to the introduction of auto enrolment. Therefore, your election provider may suggest using a variety of communication, nomination and ballot methods, in order to communicate effectively with all member profiles. After all, following the changes brought about in April 2015 and the requirement to drive up the quality of governance in workplace DC schemes, effective communication is required to reach the widest possible pool of skilled and knowledgeable candidates for your election.
The nomination process
Pension schemes should make the nomination process as simple as possible. In order to reach all members it is worth considering an online nomination process, alongside a traditional paper application. As outlined earlier, the role of the trustee is such that often MNT/MND candidates have to canvass support from referees as part of their nomination application, which can sometimes delay the process for candidates. However, with more modern online platforms this is achievable online, thus speeding up the process.
The ballot process
Finally, once you have your MNT/MND candidates and your election is contested, the final task your election service provider has to do is to help you to achieve a healthy turnout. Choosing a modern, fit for purpose e-voting platform can help to reduce costs to increased scheme memberships. It is quick and easy for the scheme member to use. Traditional paper ballots are often as an alternative to e-voting to accommodate the needs of the scheme members who prefer a more traditional method.
Another advantage of incorporating e-voting into your ballot process is the functionality to share the news on social media. Election services providers, like UK Engage, have social shares built into the e-voting platform.