My name is Richard Lamont and I’m an Employer-Nominated Trustee for the BTB Scheme. ‘Employer Nominated’ just means I’m appointed as a Trustee by one of the Employers, in this case VisitScotland, without having to persuade the members to elect me.
My main job at VisitScotland is as the Rewards Manager. The term ‘Rewards’ means what you receive in return for coming to work and covers areas such as salaries, holidays, sick and maternity pay, childcare vouchers, cars and of course pensions. With pay rises in the public sector very limited at the moment and many staff leaving to work elsewhere, a big part of my job is to remind staff of what a great benefit a final salary pension is and that they should always look at the total value of their package, not just the salary.
Very few people set out in life wanting to work in pensions. Small children don’t dream of growing up to be pensions administrators and disaffected youths don’t run away from home to join a firm of travelling actuaries.
I happened to find myself working for Guardian Royal Exchange on a placement year at College and then got a job with John Menzies plc working in their pensions department, eventually becoming the Group Benefits Manager. We parted company in 2007 and I’ve been with VisitScotland since then as Rewards Manager.
I’ve found that many people think pensions are a boring area to work in (and my family is still very much of this opinion). Over the years, however, pensions have increasingly become ‘big news’ as firms close their final salary schemes and as people think more carefully about how they will pay for their retirement as we live longer.
I really enjoy being a Trustee and even though I’ve worked in pensions for some time there continues to be no end of things I still need to learn about. Being a Trustee is also quite a big responsibility and, thanks to our learned legal advisers, we are regularly reminded that you can be held personally liable for the Scheme if we don’t follow the rules. Even though I am appointed by the Employer, I still always have to act in the best interests of the members.
Away from work I live in Edinburgh with wife Louise and our offspring, Archie and Ailsa. I know I’m biased but Edinburgh is a wonderful city and our spare time is spent trying to make full use of it.