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 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ban contingent charging on defined benefit transfers from 1 October 2020 (with exemptions where individuals are suffering from serious ill-health or experiencing serious financial hardship). This is part of the FCA’s drive to improve the quality of pensions transfer advice and addresses the conflict of interest that arises when an adviser only receives a fee if a transfer goes ahead. The FCA is currently consulting on its guidance.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the FCA have jointly issued a factsheet for individuals considering a transfer from a defined benefit pension scheme to a defined contribution scheme. The factsheet starts from the premise that it will be “in most people’s best interests to keep their DB pension” but highlights when a transfer might be suitable.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Pensions Research Accountants Group have issued joint guidance in connection with the production of pension scheme accounts. The guidance does not override the existing regulatory reporting framework, but addresses additional issues that pension trustees and auditors should take into account as a result of the current pandemic. These include setting out in the narrative part of the trustees' annual report the implications of COVID-19 for the scheme and its sponsoring employer and any steps that trustees are taking to address those implications.
The government has announced that employees who return from statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental or parental bereavement leave during the next few months will be eligible to join the coronavirus job retention scheme even if they return after the cut-off date of 10 June 2020. This will only apply if the employer has previously used the furlough scheme for its employees.
Our recent pensions webinar “Pension Schemes - Back to the Future” examined current legal issues that trustees and those involved with running an occupational pension scheme should be addressing in the short term, as well as the longer term implications of COVID-19 for pension schemes. If you would like to listen to this thought provoking discussion, a recording of the webinar and presentation materials are now available online.