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From trainee to trustee
15 November 2021

From trainee to trustee

Insight Partner

When you think about what a professional pension scheme trustee should look like, what comes to mind? Someone with a ‘bit of grey’ as the saying goes? That’s not quite how we see it (although I have to admit to fitting that stereotype). At Dalriada, we want to do something that is a bit different in our industry – build career professional trustees.

We try to be unique in the market by developing our professional trustees in-house and that starts with our Pension Management Graduate Programme. The Programme is about identifying great potential and providing the knowledge, skills and opportunities to build a great career in professional trusteeship. It also gives our clients access to a diverse range of trustees who will work as a team to understand them, their schemes and their members to get the best outcomes. Martin, Caitlin and Kirsty, three of our graduates at different points in their careers, give us their thoughts on their journey to professional trusteeship.

Martin: What is required of a good trustee continues to evolve hand-in-hand with the ever changing puzzle which is pensions. A trustee is now expected to be competent across an expansive list of areas such as actuarial, investment, covenant and governance etc., with each and every area, in its own way, being vitally important to ensure the best outcome for members. I believe this varied and significant duty is now influencing the individuals sitting on, or assisting, trustee boards.

Career trusteeship, as a dedicated role, is arguably a relatively new path for pensions professionals. Further to an actuarial degree, I wished to immediately pivot into trusteeship and experience the varied areas of work entailed in such a role. Dalriada presented this opportunity, allowing me to work alongside individuals of multiple professional backgrounds and start to build my own view of the pensions landscape.

As a trustee is now faced with issues as old guaranteed minimum pension (GMP), but also threats as new as cyber attacks, a varied background and exposure to all aspects of the pensions industry is arguably an increasingly effective way of ensuring sufficient Trustee Knowledge and Understanding (TKU).

Career trusteeship at Dalriada not only delivers this wide ranging experience, but it is also accompanied by educational support in terms of professional exams. Acquiring my Associate PMI 

membership just under five years ago, I can’t help but think that a good way to build a career as a trustee is very similar as to how one may start to build a well valued pension pot … by starting early.

Caitlin: Very rarely do I speak to anyone who always dreamt of working in the pensions industry. But many of those who join the industry seem to stay for their whole career. When I graduated university with a degree in Economics and Business Law, I didn’t know what industry I wanted to work in; but I did know what I wanted from a workplace environment to allow me to thrive. I found Dalriada to be the perfect size and fit for me. With a diversity of age and experience across the business, the environment was ideal for learning both technical knowledge and professional skills. Working with Dalriada for the last three years has helped me realise why people stay in the pensions industry.

Having originally started my journey in the administration function and learning more about the business, I expressed an interest in working with the trusteeship team. This has allowed me to interact and learn from a variety of staff, on a daily basis. Every colleague I’ve spoken with has expressed the willingness to help me in any way possible, which has fuelled my desire to seize the opportunities to further my career in such a supportive environment. I’ve been included in projects and client work that is providing me with the knowledge and skills to build a great career.

The freedom and responsibility on offer has allowed me to progress within my team and has supported my continual development. Dalriada has also encouraged and supported me through pensions exams with an overall goal of becoming an Associate member of the Pensions Management Institute.

Reflecting on my journey through the graduate scheme, it has allowed me to accelerate my career to becoming a professional trustee by providing continual development opportunities, giving exposure to many different types of project and client work, and supporting my professional qualification journey.


Kirsty: When I first embarked upon a new career as a pensions management graduate, I had little knowledge of pensions and trusteeship. I am now entering my second year of the graduate programme and my experience and breadth of knowledge of this sector has grown immensely. In turn, this has allowed me to appreciate the ample opportunities available for career progression within the pensions industry.

Throughout my first year of the graduate programme, I was fortunate enough to not only gain experience working within pensions delivery, and, in doing so, working directly with pension scheme members, but also in facilitating the onboarding process of new clients within the company. This enabled me to work across a range of departments, from actuarial to consultancy, and see how they all tie together. On top of this, I have been working towards obtaining my PMI qualifications and have just sat my second set of CPC exams. Whilst coming from a legal background, the prospect of sitting pensions calculations exams was initially daunting but the study leave afforded to graduates has helped me prepare and progress. Moving forward, I am keen to continue developing my knowledge and understanding of this sector and gaining a deeper insight into trusteeship.


This article was featured in Pensions Aspects magazine November/December edition

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Last update: 12 November 2021

Mike Crowe
Mike Crowe
Dalriada Trustees
Professional Trustee

Senior Pensions Administrator, In-house (Hybrid Working)

Salary: £20000 - £30000 pa

Location: Hybrid Working, 3 days office (Derbyshire) and 2 days at home

Pensions Governance Administrator, In-house Scheme (Hybrid Working)

Salary: £25000 - £35000 pa

Location: Option of working in the Southern (Surrey) or Northern office (North Yorkshire) and 3 days Home Working

Technical Consultant, In-house Scheme (Hybrid Working)

Salary: £40000 - £50000 pa

Location: Option of working in the Southern (Surrey) or Northern office (North Yorkshire) and 3 days Home Working

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