Here is our brief weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes, which you might have missed, with links for further information.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued further guidance on COVID-19, encouraging trustees to work with administrators to ensure that critical scheme processes are being delivered. The Pensions Ombudsman has confirmed it will take this guidance into account if it receives complaints about delays caused by COVID-19.
HMRC has published updated guidance for employers and employees in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In particular, the guidance makes it clear that employee and employer contributions should continue (unless the employee opts out or stops contributing), but the grant will not cover employer contributions above the “mandatory employer contribution”. Employers may need to take advice to identify what the mandatory employer contribution is in any given case. In relation to salary sacrifice, HMRC has clarified that the 80% of wages is calculated by reference to the post-sacrificed salary figure where a salary sacrifice arrangement is in place to cover pension contributions.
TPR and The Financial Conduct Authority, supported by the Money and Pensions Service, have issued a joint statement saying that fears over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on markets and personal finances may make savers more vulnerable to pension scams. This follows a report from Action Fraud that there has been a 400% increase between 1 February 2020 and 18 March 2020 in coronavirus-related fraud.
As anticipated in last week's update, TPR has extended the deadline for responding to its consultation on the defined benefit funding code of practice. The closing date is now 2 September 2020. Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions has extended to 2 July 2020 the deadline for responding to its consultation on non-statutory guidance for occupational pension schemes on assessing, managing and reporting climate-related risks in line with recommendations from the Task Force on Climate Related Disclosures.
Our blog assesses emerging investment risks for certain asset classes due to COVID-19 and the impact of government support measures in the UK and abroad.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.
Access our global COVID-19 Coronavirus Resource Hub for guidance on key legal and risk issues for businesses, including a complimentary risk assessment tool.