Trustee market
undergoing a revolution as we see c60% rise in schemes using professional trustees - from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3

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Analysis by LCP of new data obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has highlighted the sharp rise in the number of pension schemes whose boards include a trustee from a dedicated professional trustee firm.  

Figures obtained under FOI from the Pensions Regulator show that since 2015, for DB schemes there has been: 

  • A very small growth in the number of individual professional trustees (sole traders) – from around 4% of schemes five years ago to around 5% now; and 
  • A much bigger growth in the number of Professional Trustees on boards from around 1 in 5 schemes five years ago to nearly 1 in 3 now.  

Number of pure DB schemes 

Individual Trustee 


Firm trustee 


















LCP believe that several factors are behind this rise:  

  • The increasing complexity and weight of regulation, requirements and guidance on DB pension schemes means a professional trustee with a wide experience of other schemes and a deep knowledge can add value within a board.  The Pension Schemes Act’s new requirements around potential criminal sanctions may motivate many more schemes to use specialists to help them navigate complexity. 
  • There has been a decline in the number of member nominated trustees (MNT) putting themselves forward to be appointed. 
  • There is less appetite for senior corporate individuals to act as a Trustee particularly in the light of the possible conflicts of interest that this might create.   

The Professional Trustee market has seen an explosion of activity over the last few years, with more DB schemes using dedicated firms of professional trustees. Professional Corporate Sole Trustee (PCST) arrangements, where schemes effectively contract out trustee board duties, are also becoming increasingly popular.  

LCP’s own research has highlighted that of UK schemes currently with a Professional Trustee, about 1/3 are under a PCST arrangement. 

LCP predicts that this rise is only set to continue and have launched a full service proposition for PCST schemes called, LCP Advance in response to this increasing trend of reducing the governance burden and enhance decision making.*  

Nathalie Sims, Partner at LCP, commented: 

“Increased regulation and the need for efficiencies, partly driven by corporate pressures are playing a big part in the rise of professional trustees and particularly Professional Sole Corporate Trustee, and this will revolutionise the trustee market. Streamlining governance, reducing complexity and introducing an additional layer of professionalism given the increase in regulation are all some of the benefits.  

We encourage boards to ensure they familiarise themselves with the variety of firms, individuals and mix of skillsets when appointing a professional trustee who can provide an independent voice and additional perspective.” 

“The new code of practice from the Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) alongside their existing standards will mean more consistency in the quality of professional trustees. The TPR proposed a review of its guidance in their 2019 consultation on the future of trusteeship to reflect this growth and we hope that this comes sooner rather than later to give more clarity for pension schemes navigating this.”