Why appoint an Independent Trustee for your pension scheme?

An Independent Trustee is an effective way for a pension fund to ensure that they are at the forefront of best governance.

Moorlands Human Capital is a leading provider of executive search services for independent trustees for UK pension funds. We work with clients across the UK to ensure they find the best independent trustee to meet their needs. We understand the complexities of finding the right independent trustee. Our team can guide you through what can at first seem a complex market place.

Types of Independent Trustee Search

There are three main types of searches we carry out for Independent Trustees.

  • Whole of market search
  • Corporate Independent Trustee Search
  • Individual Independent Trustee Search

Whole of market search

By far and away the most comprehensive method to find the right independent trustee for your pension scheme is to conduct a whole of market search. When undertaking a whole of market search, we are searching for individuals within both the corporate independent trustee firms and those individuals operating as sole traders within the market place. This type of search ensures you find the best independent trustee “in the market” rather than the best independent trustee “on the market”. We make this distinction because, whilst there will always be good people looking for new opportunities “on the market”, there will also be those who are exceptional independent trustees but are simply not looking for opportunities. We say that these individuals are “in the market”. This is because they have availability but rather than spend their days looking for more appointments, they are keeping their head down and doing great work for their clients.

Although we believe that, in most instances, a whole of market search is the best way to find an independent trustee, there are occasions where this might not be feasible for various reasons. The search process we use to identify candidates doesn’t change irrespective of the type of search you want us to carry out. However, the pool of candidates does change.

Corporate Independent Trustee Search

There are occasions where the appointment of a corporate independent trustee is the best route for your pension fund. This might be because you want:

  • the security of working with a team of individuals
  • the support network and back up available should your proposed independent trustee not be available
  • to appoint a sole trustee and as such only a corporate independent trustee can do this.

There are other reasons too, but these are the main reasons our clients give for appointing a corporate independent trustee.

If you need to appoint a corporate independent trustee then we can work with you to identify the best individuals within each firm. We then help you select the right shortlist based on the technical requirements of your pension scheme, the personality fit with the board and the trustee’s availability to take on more appointments.

Individual Independent Trustee Search

There are occasions where the appointment of an individual independent trustee is the best route to go down for your pension fund. This might be because:

  • As a board you are more comfortable with an individual rather than a corporate appointment.
  • You want the individual to be an employee of the trust.
  • Hiring a corporate independent trustee feels too much like buying a house view and you want true independence.
  • You feel that the cost of a corporate independent trustee is too high.

Again, as with appointing a corporate independent trustee there are many reasons to select an individual as your independent trustee. The above are the most common themes we hear from our clients.

When appointing an individual independent trustee, we can work with you to identify the best individuals “in the market” with the right skill sets which meet the needs of your pension fund.


Whilst appointing an independent trustee introduces a new cost item, for most schemes it is comparatively low and good independents invariably add value way beyond their cost. Often, their ability to use advisers more wisely and negotiate strongly on adviser costs results in overall economies in governance budgets that more than cover their fees.

Appointing an independent trustee is a complex undertaking and requires specialist advice irrespective of which route you go down. We have helped our clients recruit trustee chairs, members of trustee boards, trustee committee members and sole trustees. We believe that clients get significant benefits from using us given the breadth of experience in the team and the depth of our knowledge in the market.

For further information on how Moorlands Human Capital can assist you in finding the best independent trustees contact our CEO Paul Battye on 0203 500 0352.

If you want to know more about the process then read a blog we did called Finding the Right Non-Executive Director

If you want to know more about our pensions practice then click here