Pensions Weekly Update – 13 May 2020

May 2020

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) updated its Automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers on 6 May, to include extra information about how the automatic enrolment and re-enrolment duties will apply to furloughed staff. TPR confirmed that automatic enrolment and re-enrolment duties will continue to apply to furloughed staff as normal, but those individuals will be assessed based on the amount the employer is paying them (which may be a lower amount during the period of furlough).
  • The latest, highly anticipated, Lloyds court hearing began in early May. The court is expected to focus on the extent to which schemes are obliged to adjust scheme benefits in order to compensate for the effect of unequal Guaranteed Minimum Pensions earned by male and female members (commonly referred to as GMP equalisation), where an individual’s benefits have been transferred out of the scheme. We await the judgment with interest, as we expect it will influence the conduct of GMP equalisation exercises carried out by many of our clients.
  • The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has published his determination in relation to the Estate of Mr D. It serves as a reminder for trustees that when exercising their discretion in relation to a lump sum death benefit, they should identify all potential beneficiaries, make enquiries of those beneficiaries and gather the relevant supporting evidence before reaching a decision. Mr D and his wife had been in the process of divorcing at the time of Mr D's death. The administrators made an assumption without evidence that if Mr D had wished to change his nomination form (which had been in favour of his wife), he would have done so at the same time that he altered his will, shortly before his death. TPO ordered the administrator to reconsider its decision.
  • Save the date! We will be hosting an action-focussed pensions webinar, covering a range of current topics, on Tuesday 2 June, noon-1 p.m. Our invitations will be issued in the next few days.
  • Hot off the PressClifford Sims will be speaking at our webinar looking at how institutional investors are assessing risks and opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world. You can register to attend the webinar here.

COVID-19 for Business

Our unlocking the lockdown self-assessment tool is intended for businesses based or operating in the UK, to help with preparations for the “unlocking” phase. The tool should take around 10 minutes to complete and covers areas such as financial health and support, supply chain, workforce and employment law, and operational risks/regulatory compliance. Within 24 hours of completing the self-assessment, you will receive a summary, which will map the factors that you have not yet considered, which can be reviewed alongside your contingency plans, business objectives and critical activities.

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.