Trustees have a new digital tool to help them learn the ropes of governing pension funds.
Governance consultant Funston Advisory Services LLC, Bloomfield, Mich., in early August launched Board Smart, the pension industry's first e-learning platform for public pension fund trustees and fund executives, said Frederick "Rick" Funston, managing partner and CEO.
"The virtual learning platform allows for a more effective and efficient delivery of the education that trustees need in order to do their jobs in overseeing a pension fund," Mr. Funston said, adding that the digital curriculum "supplements existing, traditional onboarding of trustees" through board meetings, workshops and conferences.
Board Smart also offers training for midlevel public pension fund officers who might not interact regularly with the board of trustees of their system.
Board Smart's curriculum includes 20-minute video talks from a range of pension experts including former trustees, pension fund executives, governance specialists, investment managers, actuaries and attorneys.
Each pension system sets the curriculum for trustees and staff members who complete a self-assessment after attending each class and receive continuing education credits for their attendance.
"Our goal is to create a common ground of understanding of the role of pension trustees vs. staff vs. the board and their fiduciary duties," Mr. Funston said.
To date, 15 public pension systems are considering whether to incorporate Board Smart into their trustee and employee training, Mr. Funston said.