3. Trustee Issues

3. Trustee Issues

Q3-1. Do the members of the Trustee Board have the experience and knowledge to make sure that the Plan gets the largest possible settlement from Nortel? Do any of the Trustees have a conflict of interest with Nortel and what happens if a Trustee’s term of appointment expires or he/she resigns?
The Trustee Board consists of seven Trustees:

  • an independent chairman
  • three elected by members of the Plan
  • two originally nominated by NNUK
  • one representing an independent professional Trustee company (BESTrustees)

Two of our Trustees have experience of working with the PPF due to other schemes going through assessment.

Four Trustees are members of the Plan and two of these also have personal direct claims against NNUK arising from their former employment.

Once appointed, all Trustees are under a legal obligation to act in the best interests of all beneficiaries of the Plan. The Plan’s website has a page that provides brief biographical details of each Trustee.

The Trustee Board has access to a team of professionals, covering a wide base of skills and knowledge:

  • Pinsent Masons (Legal – UK for ongoing Plan and PPF related activities)
  • Hogan Lovells (Legal – UK for deficit recovery activities)
  • KPMG (Professional Services – for buyout activities)
  • Travers Smith (Legal – for buyout activities)
  • Thornton Grout Finnigan (Legal – Canada for litigation activities)
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Legal – USA and France)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (Financial)
  • Mercer (Investment)
  • Willis Towers Watson (Actuarial)

The Trustees are working closely with the PPF, whose objectives going forward are broadly similar to those of the Trustee Board.

During assessment a Trustee’s term of appointment does not automatically expire and in the event of any resignations, consideration would need to be given as to if and how the Trustee Board needs to be strengthened.

Q3-2. I understand that the Consultative Committee (“CC”) has been disbanded because it was an NNUK sponsored body – are there any plans to reinstate it as a Trustee sponsored body during the PPF assessment process?
The Pensions Communication Group (“PCG”) was formed in 2009 and is composed of former members of the CC. The PCG meets with the Trustee on a roughly quarterly basis and provides feedback to the Trustee on its communications with the Plan membership. The PCG also assists with Trustee communication, ensuring that the communication reaches as many members as possible, using their extensive networks amongst Plan members.

Members can contact the PCG at glawrence@iee.org

Q3-3. The Trustees normally publish a Summary Funding Statement each year – will this continue during PPF assessment?
No. The issue of a summary funding statement is normally required under the terms of the Pensions Act 2004 but these terms do not apply, in certain circumstances, to schemes, such as the Plan, which are in assessment.