Could you be a Trustee director? Being a Trustee director How to apply


The DHL Group Retirement Plan (the Plan) is looked after by a trustee company called DHL Trustees Ltd, which governs the running of the Plan. It is completely independent from Deutsche Post DHL.

The DHL Group Retirement Plan has assets of over £6 billion and a membership of around 150,000.

What is the trustee board and what does it do?

The board of DHL Trustees Ltd comprises 10 directors:

  • 2 independent Trustee directors with professional pension backgrounds, one of whom is the Chairman of DHL Trustees Ltd
  • 4 directors appointed by the Founder (Deutsche Post DHL)
  • 4 MNDs, including active members contributing to the Plan and members that are already receiving payment of their pension from the Plan.

The directors are responsible for managing the Plan in accordance with legislation and its governing documents (the Trust Deed and Rules).

All the Trustee directors, whether professional, Founder-appointed or nominated by members, are expected to act prudently, conscientiously and honestly.

The DHL Group Retirement Plan comprises a number of different sections that provide a variety of pension benefits, both defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) and the person(s) appointed as MND must consider the interests of all beneficiaries.

All Trustee directors receive training and support to help them carry out their duties. The Trustee board is also supported by an in-house team of pensions professionals and experienced external advisers.

If you are interested in applying for the role you should refer to the Pension Regulator’s guide to being a trustee to help you understand more about the duties and responsibilities of pension scheme trustees.

Who can apply for the vacancies?

You can apply to be an MND if you have not been disqualified in law from acting as a director or a trustee. Applications are sought from:

  • contributing members of the DC Section
  • pensioner members of the DB Sections (excluding Exel).

This also includes the existing MNDs whose term of office is coming to an end and who fulfil the requirements and may wish to stand for another term of office.

(Please note, pensioner members of the Exel Section have their own MND whose period of office does not expire until 31 October 2020. Also, the vacancies are not open to those in receipt of a spouse’s or dependant’s pension from the Plan.)

Before applying, you should read the following sections on the skills, experience and commitment that are needed for the role. Being an MND can be rewarding, however, it does involve significant responsibility and complexity, and can be time consuming.

What skills and experience do i need to become an mnd?
Being a Trustee director carries a significant amount of responsibility.

Learning how the Plan works and the laws with which it must comply takes up a lot of time.

The role is to individually and collectively, with other Trustee directors, oversee:

  • the running of the Plan and the correct and timely payment of benefits
  • the receipt and investment of contributions
  • the management and prudent investment of the Plan’s assets
  • the keeping of accurate records and the communication of benefit entitlements to members
  • the adequate funding of the Plan based on an independent actuary’s advice
  • the management of the Plan in accordance with the Trust Deed and Rules and with pensions law.

As a Trustee director you will need:

  • to understand the role of a Trustee director and act accordingly
  • good communication skills
  • experience of working as part of a decision-making group
  • independent judgement
  • confidence to speak your mind and contribute to discussions
  • to take all relevant views into account when reaching decisions and encourage all views to be expressed
  • to be confident to challenge advice if necessary.

Experience in some of the following areas would also be beneficial but not essential as training will be provided:

  • investment and finance
  • governance and legal frameworks
  • communications and administration.
Do i need any formal qualifications?

Although you don’t need any formal qualifications to apply to become an MND, you will be expected to complete the Pension Regulator’s Trustee Toolkit online learning programme within six months of becoming a Trustee director.

The Toolkit comprises a number of training modules that cover the important aspects of pension scheme management and describes the types of situations that Trustee directors may encounter. Additional training is provided to MNDs when they join the Trustee board and continuously throughout their term of office.

You also need to be able to access and use a computer with a secure email account so that meeting arrangements can be sent to you by email.

how much time do i need to commit to being an mnd?

The time commitment for being an MND should not be underestimated.

MNDs serve a four-year term of office but may stand for reselection for a further term.

You will be expected to attend all Trustee board meetings as well as any relevant sub-committee meetings. There are five sub-committees and you would be expected to be on at least one. Additional time will also be necessary to read Trustee meeting papers and to prepare for meetings. All Trustee and sub-committee meetings take place in London.

Being a Trustee will involve a minimum of 15 days per year.

Trustee sub-committees

There are five sub-committees that report back at the Trustee board meetings on the work they’ve done on behalf of the board. This work covers the key elements for effective governance of the Plan.

The sub-committees are:

Pensions Operations Committee – monitors the way the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) sections of the Plan are administered and reviews the service standards being achieved by the administrators. The committee also makes decisions about discretionary benefit matters.

Defined Contribution Committee – aims to ensure that DC members are offered appropriate investment choices. It also works on all governance issues relating to the DC membership and helps in producing the regular communications that are sent to DC members.

Funding and Investment Strategy Committee – considers and recommends appropriate investment objectives for the DB sections based on advice received from the Plan Actuary and the Plan’s investment advisers, Momentum.

Investment Implementation Committee – develops and implements investment strategies to achieve the investment objectives outlined within the Statement of Investment Principles.

Audit and Risk Management Committee – aims to ensure that all work associated with producing and auditing the annual Trustee report and accounts is carried out in line with all the regulations and requirements.