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Governance and Legal

Willis Towers Watson consultants provide Trustee Boards with comprehensive support in developing and implementing best practice governance oversight for their pension schemes including Trustee Secretarial services and can also assist with updating Scheme documentation as necessary.

Governance Strategy and Implementation

A good governance strategy ensures that there are consistent policies, processes and controls in the management of the pension plan and that sufficient time and resources are made available to implement the strategy and maintain good governance. Governance forms a central component of the pension changes brought about by the IORP II directive and we expect it to be a focus of any Pensions Authority engagement with trustees.

We have the depth of expertise to support you in formulating and implementing a governance strategy. Our governance consulting and documentation services include the following:

  • Revising/establishing a governance framework structure.
  • Gap-analysis of current governance against best practice: delivered through Governance Lens.
  • Board effectiveness consulting and support: effectiveness reviews and trustee training.
  • Facilitated workshops to set direction: mission, vision, values, strategic objectives and business plan.
  • Board governance manual: in a single document or in a loose-leaf format and can be hosted online through OnePlace.
  • Procedure/protocol documents including an internal control system, business continuity plan, conflicts protocols, service provider oversight.
  • Regulator engagement/oversight protocol and training.
  • Risk and control (see also our Risk Management services).

Scheme Secretary Service

Our scheme secretary service brings the governance strategy into practical implementation through supporting the management of trustee meetings, to production of minutes, action logs and maintenance of procedure documents and logs. Services can include the following:

  • Dedicated scheme secretary service supporting effective management of trustee meetings and inter-meeting actions.
  • Meeting management, organisation, agenda, liaison with chair, meeting packs, attendance, minutes, action log (including sub-committees, where needed).
  • Establish and maintain an online library of relevant documents including minutes, board packs, provided through OnePlace.
  • Maintain board logs such as training log, conflict register, internal dispute resolution, register of delegated duties.
  • Maintain governance year planner.

Legal

Pension plans in Ireland must comply with a complex framework of regulation that impacts how plans function, from the formal requirements of establishment, to day-to-day operation, key outputs, exceptional events and regulator engagement. Our legal team prepares relevant documentation and support in this area and frequently works in conjunction with the pension plan’s law firm. The team includes three pension lawyers who have all specialised in pensions law since the 1990s.

We can support in a number of areas, including:

  • Trust Deeds and Rules for defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.
  • Deeds of amendment including scheme restructures and consolidations.
  • Deeds altering trustee boards and employer participants.
  • Member handbooks and other communications.
  • Regulatory compliance and reporting e.g. Pensions Authority, Revenue Commissioners, Financial Services & Pensions Ombudsman.
  • Resolving technical issues and regulatory/legal queries.
  • Reviewing pension adjustment orders.
  • Assisting in the resolution of internal disputes.
  • Due diligence such as a compliance check on member communications or a review of trust documentation.
  • Updating trustees on legislative developments.
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