Introducing your new Trustee Director

30 November 2021

Welcome to our new Trustee Director, Graham Bennett. Graham is currently Chair of National BIG at M&S and has worked for the business for 15 years. Read on to find out more about him.

What appealed to you about becoming a Trustee?

My last few roles in M&S have given me the opportunity to sit on some local boards and as a result I was looking to develop myself as part of something bigger. When I had the conversation about becoming a Trustee, I was really excited to become part of something so important to so many people.

What skills/experience do you bring to the role?

My pension experience is zero! My only dealings in pensions have been the fact that I pay into one and supporting my colleagues when we went through pension consultation at M&S 13 years ago. However, I believe I have brought a genuine eagerness to learn as much as possible in order to deliver my role as a trustee. As a current employee of M&S who represents the voice of our colleagues, I hope to ask probing questions in order to support the Trustee Board to deliver the best possible outcome for our members.

What have you discovered about pensions that you didn’t know before joining?

Just how complex running a pension scheme is and I’m staggered by the vast size of the Scheme too! Also, how important a pension is to so many of our members as they enter the well-deserved retirement stage of their lives.

What have you enjoyed about the role so far?

Everything!! I genuinely am delighted and feel privileged to be involved with the Scheme. It helps that I am lucky enough to work with a number of people who have welcomed me into the role, supported me in getting up to speed and have helped me sit and pass my Trustee exam (the first exam I have taken in a good few years).

What do you think are the key issues the Board will face in the near future?

The Scheme is very well run and is in a good position, but it will continue to be under pressure from new regulations and responsibilities. Climate change and sustainable investment along with the recent ruling on GMP equalisation are big issues for us right now. In addition to this, the world continues to change at pace, and we need to ensure that we are constantly finding new ways to engage with all our members.

Between your role as Chair of National BIG and Trustee Director, it sounds like you’ve certainly got a lot on right now. How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?

You’re right my work keeps me incredibly busy but striking a balance between work and home life is really important to me. I live with my partner, who keeps me grounded and our two young daughters (aged three and six) and son (aged 13). We enjoy visiting our wider family as well as going out for day trips. We recently bought a pizza oven so we are also having lots of fun trying (and I emphasise trying) to make good pizzas.