An interview with Trustee Director John Paino

We caught up with John Paino, after five years as a Trustee Director. To start, congratulations for being reselected as a Trustee Director, tell me why you wanted to continue?

Thank you and I’m delighted to have been reselected for a further four years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last five years as a Trustee Director. I’ve learnt a lot particularly as the pensions landscape is continually changing and evolving from a regulatory perspective. It’s also interesting in terms of broader issues that we’re all facing with regards to sustainability and the challenges and opportunities this will present for the Prudential Staff Pension Scheme (the Scheme). From a personal perspective, I really enjoy the continuous learning and education that I need to go through to make sure that my knowledge remains up to date. This means as a team we can remain focused on delivering the right outcomes for our members as the industry changes.

What are the projects that have stood out for you over the last five years?

The last five years have been very interesting and varied but three particular things have stood out for me: Firstly, the de-merger of M&G from Prudential plc was a fundamental change for the Scheme and Trustee Board. Secondly, the longevity hedging project was a significant initiative which should protect the Defined Benefit Section (DB Section) pensioner members’ benefits over the long term. Lastly, the change of our DB Section Administration provider from Aon to XPS in 2017 has certainly improved the overall member experience.

Wow, that’s quite the list, what did you enjoy the most?

As the Trustee Board Lead of the DB Section Administration change project, I worked with the various project teams throughout the process and am pleased as a result of this that the service has improved considerably for our members.

How did you find the Trustee role in the pandemic, are you ready for the ‘new normal’?

I don’t think the Trustee role has changed during the pandemic but clearly the way we meet and collaborate has, with all meetings taking place virtually. I personally have missed the face-to-face interactions, but the world has changed for all of us so individually and collectively we had to respond to this challenge quickly and efficiently, and meeting virtually meant nothing stopped. As a Trustee Board, we have a very diverse group of Stakeholders we engage with ranging from the Company, Regulators, our various Advisers, Administrators and the Pensions Team through to our membership, and we have continued to do this effectively during the pandemic.

And personally John, has anything changed for you?

From a personal perspective, travel and sport are still a big part of my life. I was travelling in South East Asia when lockdown started in March 2020 but managed to get home safely. Although I have travelled short haul this year, I’m really looking forward to long haul travel again when it is safe to do so. I still play a lot of golf. During the four-month lockdown earlier this year, I worked at my local golf club with the Greenkeeper team so that kept me busy and active! I still work in the charity sector with Camden Community Association, no longer as a Trustee but as an adviser to their senior management team, particularly in supporting their business planning and governance processes.

And what are you looking forward to being involved in over the next four years?

The bar is continually being raised in all areas of scheme governance so this will continue to be an important focus. I’m also looking forward to the sustainability and the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) journey that we have embarked upon and assessing the impacts and opportunities this will create for the Scheme.

Thank you John, it’s been great to catch up.