Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the accreditation programme. If you can't find an answer you are looking for, please submit your question here.

Is the PMI’s accreditation the official accreditation programme?

Yes, right from the start of the process the PMI was always set to be the accrediting body for the professional trustee standards as set out by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG). This was agreed with both the APPT and TPR and announced publicly in early 2019.

Are there two sets of standards?

No, there is one set of standards as developed by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group. There are two accreditation programmes, the official programme (as announced in 2019 here) run by the PMI and the second programme from the APPT, announced in February.

Both of the accreditations follow the same framework put together by Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG).The Regulator is supportive of multiple programmes as evidenced in their press statements.

Are you no longer partnering with the APPT to deliver the accreditation? Why?

We will still be working with the APPT to deliver courses and qualifications as part of their accreditation process but we are also delivering our own separate accreditation process distinct from the APPT. 

Why did PMI decide to launch its own programme?

The APPT decided in December 2019 that it wished to change plans and appoint another company, Underline Group, to manage its accreditation process. 

PMI made multiple attempts, before making its own announcement, to continue the partnership as originally agreed. As a joint venture was not possible, the PMI decided to launch the accreditation programme it had been working on since 2019. In addition to this, the PMI believes it is best suited to provide a complete solution for members as the leading qualifications provider and a prominent membership body in the industry.

How will your accreditation differ from the APPT’s programme?

PMI has over 40 years of experience as a membership organisation. We can draw on our diverse experience in running an accreditation programme on behalf of the FCA as well as offering Ofqual regulated qualifications. 

Our robust accreditation programme is fully integrated with our new CRM system, which offers automation and great user experience. The automated system will be supported by our highly professional and experienced membership, qualifications and compliance teams, who will provide first class customer service. We believe our system is well placed to accommodate applicants both from large firms and sole traders.

Our system is fully secure. Processing sensitive data requires that we ensure full compliance with data protection requirements with proper disaster recovery arrangements.

PMI is also perfectly positioned to operate an appeals procedure for unsuccessful applicants and is experienced in operating a disciplinary procedure should it prove necessary to withdraw a trustee’s accreditation.

It is important to recognise that the accreditation of professional people is a specialised and highly demanding function and in no way should be considered to be a routine back-office process.

Will you have any relationship with the APPT going forward?

Yes. We will still be delivering courses and qualifications for their members that will form part of their accreditation process. 

We are both deeply interested in serving professional trustees and we will happily work together on improving the industry’s standards.

Can I complete the programme digitally/online?

While the application is completed online, some of the accreditation requirements such as exam sittings for PMI Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship Unit 1 require in-person attendance. PMI Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship Unit 2 soft skills exam can be sat online via remote invigilation.

For more details about the process and qualifications, please click here.  

Which qualifications need to be completed?

To hold accreditation, professional trustees will have to pass the Pensions Management Institute’s (PMI) Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship:

- PMI Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) Unit 1 - Professional Trusteeship - a multiple-choice exam of 60 questions, lasting 90 minutes. Please note, learners already holding the Award In Pension Trusteeship (APT), will be exempt from sitting Unit 1, and it will count towards the final certificate as having been completed

- PMI Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) Unit 2 - Soft Skills - a multiple-choice exam of 60 questions, lasting 90 minutes

How does the Coronavirus situation affect the accreditation programme?

While many trustees hoping to complete the accreditation will have seen the process hampered by the impact of COVID-19, we are pleased to announce that we will be rolling out our online multiple-choice exams from May. 

We encourage all seeking accreditation to register on our website and complete all other requirements and return to complete outstanding qualifications in due course. The PMI will inform all registered applicants with further details as soon as possible. 

Why become accredited if it is not a mandatory requirement?

While the accreditation status is not a mandatory requirement by the Pensions Regulator (TPR), we believe that becoming accredited early provides a significant advantage to all professionals. We expect more schemes to start using accreditation as a requirement when selecting professional trustees.

TPR also expects all professional pension trustees to show a greater level of knowledge and meet higher standards than other trustees, therefore mandatory or not, accreditation provides you with a formal acknowledgement for your personal and professional development.

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