Every pension scheme, employer and trustee board is different.


We provide independent trustee services through our independent corporate trustee, Burness Paull Pension Trustees Limited (“BPPTL”). BPPTL has four trustee directors, all of whom are highly-regarded senior practitioners in the pensions industry. Those directors are supported by a team of specialist lawyers and paralegals who work in the pensions and corporate sector.

We take on appointments for open or closed pension schemes, defined benefit or defined contribution.

Our trustee appointments range from the very small (less than £10m in assets) to the large (assets in excess of £1bn). We allocate a specific BPPTL director to each trustee board appointment but with dedicated back up support from another director and the wider team. This way we ensure there is no ‘key man’ risk in our appointments.

Burness Paull's independent trustee services include:

Sole trustee appointments

With competing demands on time, sometimes it can be difficult to source both employer and member nominated trustees, particularly for smaller schemes. In these circumstances, it can be helpful to outsource the full fiduciary responsibility for the management of the scheme to an independent trustee. BPPTL provides sole independent trustee services. We have processes in place to ensure peer scrutiny and challenge of decision-making as well as effective governance.

Role of Chair

We are experienced in carrying out the Chair role for schemes which is an increasingly important appointment for trustee boards. We focus on getting the best out of our fellow trustees, encouraging participation and input. We lead trustee boards to achieve their full potential, utilising the skills and attributes of each of our fellow trustees.

Part of a trustee board

We are comfortable being appointed as part of a larger board without taking the chair role. We are flexible in our approach and are happy to work with employers and trustees in whatever way works best for their scheme.

End game planning

For closed schemes, we work closely with the scheme employer and our advisers to set up and monitor a long-term strategy for the scheme. We focus on ‘end game’ planning in a way that is affordable to the scheme employer but keeps the interests of members and beneficiaries at the heart of everything we do. That way we ensure a smooth route to buy-out, reducing risk and volatility at pivotal points along the way.

How do our independent trustee services work?

We work closely with employers, our fellow trustees and advisers to support, help, manage and deal with the increasingly complex issues that arise in relation to running pension schemes.

We provide a comprehensive and expert trustee service, ensuring that members’ benefits are looked after to the highest possible standard but in a pragmatic and cost-efficient manner. We don’t waste time and money creating unnecessary work. We take advice when necessary, but we bring the benefit of our industry knowledge and experience to ensure compliance and the smooth running of the pension scheme in an environment where pension scheme decision-making is under ever greater scrutiny.

We pride ourselves on building close, meaningful working relationships. The team's approach is collaborative – we invest the time at the beginning of a relationship to really get to know the scheme in question, fellow trustees and the scheme employers. We know that we need to understand not only the scheme, but the context and sector in which it operates.

Related Expertise
Pensions