Becoming a Member Nominated Director

In the recent issue of Talking Pensions, we told you we’re looking for three Member Nominated Directors to join the Trustee board from 1st March 2020. This page tells you more about what’s involved in being a Trustee Director and how you can nominate yourself, or someone else, to apply for this important role.

The Sainsbury’s Pension Scheme is set up under Trust and run by a Trustee company, which is a separate legal body from J Sainsbury plc. There are currently 11 Trustee Directors of the Trustee company:
  • An independent Chairman
  • Five directors nominated by Sainsbury’s, including three independent professional trustees
  • Five member Nominated Directors (MNDs) nominated by Scheme members.
The Scheme is looking for nominations as three MNDs are due to finish their term in 2020. Two of the MNDs will be appointed for four years and one MND will be appointed for two years. Members can nominate themselves (or another member, if that member agrees).


Although colleagues can no longer build up further pension in the Sainsbury’s Pension Scheme, the Trustee still has an extremely important role in managing the Scheme. The primary responsibilities of a Trustee Director are to ensure that:

  • Members receive correct benefits at the correct time
  • The Scheme’s funds are sufficient to pay all members’ benefits.

All Trustee Directors act jointly and have the same legal obligations and functions. Their main duties are to:

  • Act in accordance with the Trust Deed and Rules of the Scheme
  • Act prudently, conscientiously and honestly and with good faith
  • Act in the best interests of all classes of beneficiary
  • Invest the funds of the Scheme
  • Take advice from professional experts where needed, for example, on technical matters.

The Trustee Director’s role requires a significant time commitment.

The Trustee board meets at least four times a year. Extra meetings are occasionally called to discuss any business that cannot wait for the next quarterly meeting.

In addition, there are three sub-committees, one dealing with investment matters, one with day-to-day matters relating to administration and another dealing with risk and finance. Any Trustee Directors appointed to a committee will also be required to attend at least quarterly sub-committee meetings.

Outside meetings, Trustee Directors are also expected to review and respond to any correspondence they are sent about Scheme matters.

The Pensions Act 2004 requires Trustee Directors to have appropriate knowledge and understanding relating to pensions and trust law, the principles relating to the funding of occupational pension schemes and the investment of the assets of such schemes. New Trustee Directors must also ensure that within six months of appointment they have a working knowledge of Scheme Rules and other related documents. Trustee Directors must set aside sufficient time to dedicate to the role.

Trustee Directors who work for Sainsbury’s can take paid time off from their normal work to carry out their duties, including attending meetings or relevant training sessions. All Trustee Directors are reimbursed for their expenses.

You do not need any particular knowledge or experience; however, if you are planning to put yourself forward for nomination, you should be able to:

  • Communicate well
  • Understand complex technical information, for example, pensions and trust law, the funding of occupational pension schemes and the investment of assets
  • Attend all meetings and give time to the role.

The Pensions Department will give training and support to help you carry out your role. The Pensions Department and the Scheme’s advisers will also provide specific training on actuarial, legal and investment matters; it is primarily your responsibility to ensure that you develop your knowledge and understanding by asking for training.

There are a number of sources of training available to Trustee Directors, for instance, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and many legal firms and pensions consultants offer courses and seminars.

The Pensions Regulator also provides general training in the form of a free online training facility, available at The introductory modules of this training cover basic trust law and Trustee Director duties, and give a flavour of what it is like to be a Trustee Director.

The Pensions Regulator’s website contains further information on the role of a Trustee Director, available at Please read and consider this information before deciding whether to nominate yourself. 

Any member of the Scheme may be nominated as a Trustee Director; however, the Pensions Act 2004 sets out overriding circumstances under which persons are disqualified from being Trustee Directors.

To be eligible to act as a Trustee Director you must be:

  • A member of the Scheme
  • Over age 18.

You must not:

  • Have been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or deception (unless the conviction is spent)
  • Be an undischarged bankrupt, or have entered into certain other voluntary agreements with creditors
  • Have been disqualified from acting as a company director
  • Have property in Scotland which is covered by a sequestration order
  • Be part of a company where any director of the company has been disqualified from being a trustee
  • Be part of a Scottish partnership where any of the partners have been disqualified from being a trustee
  • Work for an organisation in competition with any Sainsbury’s business, such as Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer plc, Alliance Boots, Ocado, Asda/Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Tesco PLC, Costcutter, The Co-operative Group Limited, Waitrose/John Lewis Partnership, Iceland, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC. This list is not exhaustive.

It is a criminal offence to act as a Trustee Director whilst disqualified.

All nominations will be reviewed by a Selection Panel, made up of:

  • An independent professional Trustee
  • An existing Trustee Director of the Scheme (not including the retiring Member Nominated Directors), and
  • A representative of Sainsbury’s Pensions Department.

From the nominations received, the Selection Panel will recommend a shortlist of candidates for interview to the Trustee board. After the interviews, the Selection Panel will recommend a list of successful candidates to the Trustee board.

If you have a query, please contact the Pensions Department on 020 7695 8502.


Nomination form

If, having read all of the above, you would like to be a Trustee Director, you should nominate yourself. You can nominate another member if they agree; they should still complete a nomination form.

To nominate yourself, you will need to send us:

  • A completed nomination form (please click here for the nomination form). You can complete the form on screen, then print, sign and either scan and email it, or print and complete it by hand, then post it (details below).
  • A statement explaining why you would like to be a Trustee Director and what skills and relevant experience you believe you can bring to the Trustee board
  • A one-page CV.

Please send these to: or
Carole Veal
Pensions Department
Sainsbury's Store Support Centre
33 Holborn
London EC1N 2HT

The closing date for the applications is 11th November 2019.

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