Season 3 Episode 17:
How to do meetings with Robert Thomas

Our viewpoint

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This week we’re talking decision making with professional Trustee Robert Thomas. We cover chairing investment boards, avoiding groupthink, and making good decisions in a complex environment.

We also take a deep dive into why having a clear plan is so essential to moving forward, the value of getting advisers on the same page, and the underappreciated value of simple solutions.

Robert discusses some small adjustments to communication and expectations that can change the dynamics of boardrooms. He was also kind enough to share many anecdotes and examples of all this in practice. We’re sure anyone working with trustees would get a lot out of listening to this conversation.

We discuss:

  • Robert’s recent LinkedIn post requesting thoughts on how to make remote meetings more debate-rich and less formulaic and transactional when it comes to questioning and discussion. We discuss the responses and reflections on this challenge:
    1. The power of smaller groups (6 or less)
    2. Different dynamics in medium and large groups (6-12 and 15+)
    3. Being thoughtful about where discussion time should be focused
    4. How online accentuates particular human behavioural traits that are there anyway
    5. Is the hand-up button really helpful?
    6. Being more tolerant of silence, give people time
  • In many of our podcasts covering investor behaviour and the related subject of governance we talk about the role of the chair. Robert reflects on the importance of the chair role and some key tips and reflections from his time chairing committees.
  • Overall investor behaviour among pension funds and whether this has improved concerning things like groupthink.
  • Robert runs through key things for advisers to bear in mind to be most effective when working with boards.
  • How to get a boardroom relationship back on track after tense/fraught negotiations.
  • It’s often said that the role of the trustee has changed, and become more complex, Robert reflects on changes over the last 20 years and what this means for the future.

One thing to take away 

Always keep the member in focus and what they need – that’s the whole aim of a pension scheme.

The most underappreciated thing about investing

There are only perfect answers with the benefit of hindsight. Getting things spot on is more often due to good luck than judgement. If you get the framework right you maximise the chance of getting something right, but you can never be sure today (only in hindsight).


Links mentioned 

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Each LCP investment uncut podcast is for information and marketing purposes only and does not constitute any form of investment or financial advice or a financial promotion (under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000). All views expressed by the podcast hosts and guests are purely their own opinions and do not represent those of LCP, its clients or affiliates. Our podcast listeners should always seek independent financial or legal advice before making any financial or investment decisions. Please refer to the Legal Notices section on the LCP website for further information.​

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