It seems the relationship between companies and their pension schemes is taking a new turn- with a more robust attitude to responsibility of the sponsor on the cards.

The government’s recent white paper spelt out the potential liabilities to directors that fail to deliver on their duties to pensions.

In previous years a process of de-risking corporate exposure to pension funds has seen a reduction in costly defined benefit schemes, often resulting in share price hikes that have been good for directors’ remuneration.

With only the share price to worry about, some corporates took advantage of the unbalanced relationship between sponsor and scheme trustees to push through changes that weren’t positive for pension funds.

But now that relationship is being recast by a wider set of stakeholders, including government, keen to see the balance tipped more evenly so that negotiations are fairer.

There are benefits to the corporate of delivering better benefits to employees- a happier workforce often makes for a more profitable company in the long run, especially in the knowledge-based industries.

What’s now a reality is that the finance director is at the heart of this issue. If they’re not doing so already, FDs will need to take on the full weight of responsibility in this new era.

Failure to do so could spell real danger.