26th Apr 2022

Games, Thrones and Hashtag Zones!

We’re celebrating our 40th year of trusteeship this year! In the final episode of our four-part series, Trustee Director Andy Bakewell shares his memories from our most recent, full decade of service.

40 years of 20-20 Trustees / Part 4 – The Teensies

As our story hits its fourth, most recent decade, 2010 saw the business get off to a rather shaky start… We had become victims of our own success. With our Trustees doing such a grand job transitioning schemes into the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), our revenue declined significantly, putting the future of the business in doubt.

In 2014 things began to change! Antony Miller, Nigel Jones, Gerry Walsh and Neil Mitchell all recognised the value that professional independent trustees bring to schemes, sponsors and members; combining forces to purchase Alexander Forbes Trustee Services – renaming it 20-20 Trustee Services Limited – the company we know today.

We were lucky to have Antony’s expertise – he was a thought-leader when it came to navigating distressed scheme challenges and it was due to his experience and leadership that we have the pragmatic problem-solving reputation we do.  As the business began to grow, and staff began to… mature (!), Naomi L’Estrange became Managing Director and set out to hire a new generation of professional independent trustees!

What was happening outside our pension bubble?

Well, the UK had a coalition government for the first time since WWII – remember Cameron-Clegg?  There were some good memories for brand GB – following the incredible spectacle of Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding in 2011, the Union Jacks were out in force again for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, when Britain did what it does best and hosted an incredible party. This was followed by the amazing London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The feel-good factor didn’t last, and despite looking like a United Kingdom for these incredible events – we were a nation divided. Scotland held an independence vote in 2014, and in 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU.  We did come out together to celebrate once again, when Prince Harry married his then actress fiancé, Meghan Markle in 2018.

One way arrow on a wall

Culturally, it was the decade of the boy band, with One Direction capturing the hearts of millions as they finished second in the The X-Factor… to who? Matt Cardle! The iPad was born and Instagram also launched, which saw everyone taking photos and hash-tagging absolutely everything (think food, holidays and pets). Records were also broken on TV when it seemed that everyone on the planet was watching ‘Game of Thrones’. And of course, in 2017 – Donald Trump was elected as the United States’ President – they do say that fact is stranger than fiction!

Our business, just like our clients’ businesses, were rocked by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 – none of us saw that one coming.  However, despite the uncertainty, 20-20 Trustees has gone from strength to strength, thanks to not only the strong foundations established earlier in the decade but the fantastic team Naomi has built and led.  

Bringing this series to a close

As I look back over the last 40 years, I am reminded of what an enjoyable time I’ve had, and have loved sharing it with everyone in our community. This is a great sector to work in, with exposure to many different industries, solving a diverse set of problems and genuinely making a difference to people’s lives.

I feel privileged to have been a colleague to many great people over the years, and as one of the longer serving employees, I wanted to give a special shout-out to Lisa Harries – officially the longest serving at 20-20. We’ve undoubtedly had a real rollercoaster of a ride, but have emerged all the better for it… Roll on the next 10 years!

With over 40 years-experience in trusteeship, 20-20 Trustees are an award-winning professional independent trustee organisation, committed to making a difference in the world of pensions. Whatever your trustee requirement, we’re sure we can help. Get in touch today!