How the Scheme is run

The responsibility of the Trustee

The M&S Pension Trust (the Trustee) is the Trustee Company legally responsible for managing The M&S Pension Scheme. The Trustee is made up of a Board of nine Trustee Directors, who are all equally responsible for the Scheme. They must all act prudently, responsibly, honestly and impartially, and always in the best interests of members.

To perform their duties, all Trustee Directors must:

  • know and understand enough about the Scheme and issues that will affect it, including pensions law and investments, to be able to run the Scheme properly,
  • make sure that there are proper controls in place to identify when they need to take action,
  • keep members up to date with information about the Scheme and their own pension and
  • have the necessary advisers in place to help them with their role.

The Trustee Directors’ responsibilities cover all aspects of managing the Scheme; from monitoring the administration service provided to members and making sure pensions are paid correctly and on time; to considering the Scheme’s investments and making sure that they are appropriate so that the fund grows over time.

The role of the Company (M&S plc)

The Company is legally required to pay into the Scheme the money the Trustee needs to be able to pay the benefits due from the Scheme now and in the future.

The Trustee works closely with the Company in managing the Scheme. Although the Trustee always acts independently, in some cases, the Trustee and Company need to reach agreement on a decision before it can go ahead.

How the Trustee operates

There are different types of Trustee Director, which makes sure that the Trustee Board has the right mixture of skills and experience to act in the best interest of members.

The appointment process depends on the type of Trustee Director role.

  • The Chairman leads the Trustee Board and is appointed by the Company. 
  • Three Company-Nominated Trustee Directors are existing employees appointed by the Company. 
  • Three Member-Nominated Trustee Directors are members of the Scheme who are nominated by other members and appointed by the Trustee.
  • Independent Trustee Directors are appointed by the Trustee and Company. They are appointed as independent experts.

The Trustee manages the Scheme through committees, who are responsible for certain aspects of the Scheme. It may also set up sub groups or working parties to manage important projects or very specific responsibilities.

Here’s an overview of the current Trustee Board, its committees and main advisers:

Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

The Finance, Audit and Risk Committee oversee the accounting, financial reporting, internal control and risk management processes of the Scheme, including the audit of its financial statements.

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee looks after the Scheme's investments, including monitoring where the Scheme has invested the funds, appointing and reviewing external investment managers and reviewing the Scheme’s investment strategy. It must make sure that the Scheme’s investments are in line with the Trustee’s Statement of Investment Principles (SIP). It is supported by the Growth Assets Committee and Valuation Committee.

Management and Governance Committee

The Management and Governance Committee looks after the day-to-day management of the Scheme, including reviewing the Scheme’s governance arrangements, monitoring the administration service provided to members, agreeing changes required due to changes in legislation, deciding who should receive any lump sum benefits in the event of death and considering all formal complaints. 

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Committee

The Environmental, Social & Governance Committee explores the opportunities and risks within ESG and makes recommendations to the Trustee Board. This includes, developing the Scheme’s Sustainable and Responsible Investment Policy, advising the Trustee Board and Committees on regulatory requirements and emerging best practice and considering the impact of ESG risks (including climate change) on the Scheme.