The Standard Life Master Trust Board
Richard Butcher is Managing Director of ZEDRA Governance Limited - a market-leading, award-winning and accredited professional independent pension trustee company. Richard represents ZEDRA in their role as the Chair of the Board of the Standard Life Master Trust Company, which is managed by five independent directors.
You can read all about him and his fellow Trustees below. But first, let us tell you a little more about the Board, and why its role is so important in insisting on quality and value for scheme members.
The role of the Board
The Standard Life DC Master Trust is an award-winning workplace pension solution, approved by The Pensions Regulator and proud to be helping thousands of people save for their retirement.
The role of the Trustee Board can be summarised in four core principles:
Ensure the safety of the members' savings
The Board is responsible for ensuring that the members' pension savings are in a safe place. This doesn't mean that their value might not fall if investment markets do, but it does mean that they are safely protected against fraud, theft or business failure in relation to their Standard Life pension scheme.
You can read more about this in the Statement of Investment Principles section below.
Always consider what's in members' financial interests
For investments: the Board will take responsibility for investing the members' money, taking into account any investment decisions they have made. If members don't want to make investment decisions, that's fine and the Board will invest their money in the default investment option for the scheme. They will review the strategy and investment performance of the default and will consider members' financial interests when making decisions in relation to the default.
For costs: the Board will consider whether the charges Standard Life are taking from members' money represent good value for services they deliver. If they do not, their job is to challenge us at Standard Life to improve that value.
Listen to members
The Board actively want and value feedback. They would like members' views on how they feel about their pension savings and the service they receive from us at Standard Life.
Members are free to email the Trustee Board at any time and we would encourage them to do so - we'd just add that email isn't a secure channel so please ensure they don't include sensitive details.
These views are an important part of the assessment of good value from Standard Life - the Board will focus on all aspects of the DC Master Trust scheme across its lifetime to try and provide a good outcome in retirement.
Listen to you
As a valued client of Standard Life, your views, questions and comments are welcome, and there are a number of ways in which you can interact with the Board.
Meeting the Board: The Board invites participating employers to meet them at the Master Trust forum. At these events, they'll provide updates and information and, most importantly, they'll answer any questions you may have, and listen what you have to say about how the scheme is working for you and the members.
Meeting your business: A Trustee Director can be nominated to attend a governance meeting with you, meaning your team and members can let them know how the scheme is operating for them.
Master Trust governance
At Standard Life, we define governance as standing for who we are, and how we behave. For our Master Trust, we have taken this further and established four pillars to represent our priorities – People, Policy, Management Information and Commercial alignment.
In the table below, you can see exactly where the Trustee Board complements and guides our Master Trust governance principles. It’s there to test, challenge and support you, us and the members
|Standard Life Governance|
The Board are supported by a dedicated Standard Life team, and a broader governance culture, all bringing their collective expertise to bear.
The Trustee Board keep the Trust Deed and General Rules and Statement of Investment Principles under regular review to make sure they are relevant, compliant with regulation, and applied fairly and consistently
Standard Life provides the Trustee Board with a comprehensive data pack each quarter to; help them fulfil their duties, hold us at Standard Life to account, and highlight any areas for improvement
Robust governance helps us to secure a lifetime of possibilities for the Master Trust scheme members. This supports the value of the benefit you provide as their employer
Regular reviews and reports
As part of their governance commitment the Board produces a range of reviews and reports, all of which we will make available to you when you participate in the Master Trust scheme.
Master Trust Quarterly Updates
You’ll receive Quarterly Updates, and their aim is to keep you up to date and informed. So in these, you’ll get an overview of Board actions over the previous quarter, details of administration and investments and lots of other topical content.
Master Trust Annual Report and Statement
An annual publication is the Trustee's Report and Chair's Statement on how the scheme is performing. This includes:
- Their opinion on whether the members are getting good value
- Information relating to charges and transaction costs
- How core financial transactions are processed
Below you’ll find a copy of the latest Trustee’s Report and Chair’s Annual Statement for DC Master Trust. It’s full of useful and interesting details, including the recent history of the Trustee Board members and robust performance reviews.
The statement also includes a dashboard showing the most important performance metrics and how the Master Trust scheme is performing against them.
Master Trust Internal Controls Report
The Board is also responsible for setting the control objectives for the Master Trust. It reports annually on the control activities which help ensure that the objectives are met. The Board also asks an independent firm of accountants to check that the procedures they've agreed with Standard Life are properly carried out.
You can read the latest report below.
Master Trust Statement of Investment Principles
We’ve said above that ensuring the safety of the members’ investments is one of the core responsibilities that the Trustee Board sets for itself. This is complemented by the Statement of Investment Principles, which sets out the Trustee’s policies when investing the Master Trust’s assets for the members.
This Statement details the principles which govern the decisions about investments that enable the Trust to meet requirements of:
- the Pensions Act 1995, as amended by the Pensions Act 2004
- the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations 2005 as amended by the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) (Amendment) Regulations 2010, the Occupational Pension Schemes (Charges and Governance) Regulations 2015, and the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment and Disclosure) Regulations 2018
You can download the Statement below:
Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report
Following the introduction of climate-related reporting for our master trusts in October 2021, the Standard Life Master Trust Company has made significant progress in implementing and embedding the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (‘TCFD’).
The report covers the year ended December 2021 and has been prepared in accordance with the recommendations of the TCFD. Each report provides further insight on Governance, Scenario Analysis, Risks and Opportunities plus Metrics and targets.
Meet your Trustee Board
Each Trustee is appointed through an open and transparent recruitment process. The men and women who make up the Board come from a variety of backgrounds, but each one has something in common – they’re passionate about doing the right thing for members. We hope you’ll get the chance to meet them in person at one of our future events but in the meantime, here are their mini-biographies – and pictures so that you can recognise them.