ABout us

About the Pensions Archive Trust

The Pensions Archive Trust (PAT) is building a national resource of historical material, documents and data from the occupational pensions’ movement in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Though it has had its challenges, the incremental growth of workplace pensions is a clear example of corporate responsibility in action, demonstrating the power of business to enhance the social fabric. Of course, mistakes have been made and lessons have been learned, but the evolution of the pensions’ movement has been a genuine success story. Here at the Pensions Archive Trust, we want to preserve the documentation from the movement’s history, to ensure that important information is not lost, but rather is made readily accessible to researchers, historians, policymakers and industry professionals.

Our main charitable objectives are:

To establish and maintain the Archive, in formats that will ensure both the security of valuable historical records and optimum accessibility to all interested parties;

To advance the education, both of the general public and those involved in the operation of occupational and private pension schemes.

Creating an online document archive

The physical Pensions Archive is growing steadily and we hope it will continue to expand with new material from a wide range of companies across diverse industries. It is important to retain donations in their original form for historic and evidential purposes, but in order to be most effective, we also need to digitise as much of our catalogue as possible so that it can be easily accessed by researchers outside of London. We have begun this process, and it remains a key priority for our future work.

Our story

Our story began in 2001 when Alan Herbert reflected on the long history of workplace pensions in the UK and how technological change was affecting scheme administration. He concluded there was a need to capture not only the story, but the very documentation that formed it, and to file this material in a secure and professional archive.

The Pensions Archive Trust Steering Committee was established the following year with like-minded individuals from across the pensions sector, who met to discuss the need and to scope out a viable way forward. The Trust was formally established in 2005 as a registered company, limited by guarantee, with Alan Herbert presiding as the first Chairman and Alastair Ross Goobey CBE as the first President.

The first task for the newly formed group of Trustees was to establish a location for the new archive that would be both practical and cost-effective. They explored the feasibility of establishing an independent archive within facilities at City University, but after further consideration the team decided it would be more prudent to approach an existing archive to work collaboratively with PAT; this would not only save money, it would also bring knowledge, skills and archival expertise to the project from the outset.

PAT identified the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) as its preferred partner and entered discussions about creating a partnership in August 2006. The LMA fully supported the objectives of the new charity in securing a central resource of information on historical and current management practices within occupational pension schemes. A partnership was subsequently formalised, and the decision was made to employ a dedicated staff member with archivist expertise based at the LMA.

The first documents began arriving at the new archive in April 2007 and the Trust gained formal charitable status in March 2008.

Over the following decade and a half, PAT has continued to acquire more documentation from a range of small, medium and large corporations who have chosen to deposit their pensions scheme files with us, along with relevant material from a number of professional pensions bodies including lawyers, actuaries and accountants.

In September 2021, we were delighted that Jane Newell DBE accepted the invitation to become President of PAT; she had been involved with PAT from its inception and brings a wealth of experience and whole-industry expertise to the table. The Pensions Archive is now well on its way to becoming the leading national resource of its kind.

Our team

The team of Trustees running the Pensions Archive Trust have a diverse skillset, and together possess extensive experience across a variety of areas within the pensions field. Administratively, the charity consists of a President, Vice Presidents, Chairman, Board of Directors, Advisory Group Members, Secretary, Accountant and an archivist.

PAT and LMA operate a Joint Liaison Committee which meets regularly at LMA, comprising of representatives from LMA and from the Board of Directors and Advisory Group of The Pensions Archive. Regular meetings of the Liaison Committee ensure that operations run smoothly and that all parties remain up-to-date on all relevant matters, including new document acquisitions, cataloguing targets and fundraising.

Occupational pensions schemes may not be everyone’s topic of conversation over coffee, but this feature of British life is of both economic and social importance: they have provided a more secure retirement for millions of people and will protect the well-being of tomorrow’s workforce in later-life, provided schemes are administered well.

Jane Marshall
PAT Director