Under The Pension Regulator's new code of practice for DC schemes, there is a greater responsibility on DC pension trustees to ensure compliance with the governance standards. But looking beyond just these standards, what are trustees' responsibilities for improving member outcomes and supporting that members are fully engaged with their DC pension, both when saving towards retirement and when making that crucial decision at retirement?

Arguably, the whole point of the trustee role is focused on member outcomes and so their role should encompass not only meeting the governance standards, but also member engagement. After all, a beautifully run scheme, compliant to within an inch of its life, will only deliver the outcome to members if members are engaged and use it. 

We know and bodies of research show us that the vast majority of DC members are ill-equipped to fully understand the power of their own decision making when saving into a DC pension and when taking those pension benefits. This is particularly applicable to members who have also experienced a DB pension with the same employer; they feel the employer will make the decisions for them and will ensure they are well looked after.

DC pensions are a different ball game; members can choose their contribution level, their fund investment, their date of retirement/ date when to access their pension benefits, how to take those pension benefits and who their nominated beneficiary should be. There are a lot of decisions and some of them require quite sophisticated budgeting, pensions, financial planning and tax knowledge.

DC members now need a lot more education, guidance and advice than ever before and if trustees made this one of their key points of focus alongside compliance with their governance standards, then members of the future will surely be in a much better place.