The UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) is set to publish a trustee-wide survey to measure progress on diversity and inclusion.

Speaking yesterday (8 June) at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Investment Conference, TPR executive director of regulatory policy, analysis and advice Louise Davey said the regulator will be launching the survey "shortly" in a bid to "understand what the trustee universe looks like". All trustees will be required to respond.

She said the regulator recognises improving diversity and inclusion "is a journey and we're not going to see change happen overnight", but noted it is vital the industry witnesses each other's progress and learns from each other. "We are seeing some really good progress," she added.

Also speaking on the panel at the conference, Brightwell senior stewardship analyst Emma Douglas said diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is "complex and nuanced" and DEI needs to be tailored "specifically to each organisation".

Davey also noted a "key challenge is around the perception of the role of the trustee" - adding there is a need for trustees to have good levels of knowledge and expertise.

She said while there is a "need for [trustees] to have certain skills", the key is "challenging the entrenched beliefs that you need to have been in the industry for a really long time".

"You could argue some of the expectations the regulators set, for example around fit and proper, entrench that further, and I think there is a good bit of reflection for us to do there.

She said there is a need for trustee boards to have certain skills, but "there really needs to be efforts to think more broadly".

Davey said trustees traditionally "need skills and years of experience, but you might have someone with no experience but knowledge of data and cyber which trustee boards need now".

"The recruitment process needs work. It is not just about visible diversity but what people can bring."

She also argued crucial to improving DEI is "encouraging curiosity". She said the industry needs to "keep people asking questions".

Brightwell's Douglas added: "We need to build on momentum, we can't wait for a big tragedy to bring up diversity, we need to keep it going."