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.
- Following its announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended and the Job Support Scheme shelved, the government has now confirmed that the CJRS will be further extended until the end of March 2021. The CJRS grant will remain at the current levels for the moment – 80% of wages for hours not worked (up to a maximum amount of £2,500) with employers paying National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions. There will be a review in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more. As a consequence of this development, the Job Retention Bonus will not be paid in February, but the government has said it will “redeploy a retention incentive at the right time”.
- Following the UK's exit from the EU, the government has announced new measures relating to financial services, which it plans to introduce. The measures include mandatory reporting across the UK economy by 2025 in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. In a tweet, Rishi Sunak said that mandatory reporting would extend to large financial institutions. This fits with the recent consultation on mandatory reporting of climate-related financial disclosures for larger occupational pension schemes.
- The High Court has handed down its judgment in The Board of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) v Dalriada Trustees Limited. The case concerns the operation by the PPF of the Fraud Compensation Fund (FCF) and clarification of certain criteria that must be met before the PPF may pay compensation from the FCF in respect of an occupational pension scheme. There is no one size fits all and the PPF will need to look at the circumstances of each scheme making a claim to see if it meets the relevant criteria for compensation under the FCF.
- The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched a new campaign, encouraging pension scheme trustees, providers and administrators to make a public pledge to combat pension scams. Those that make the pledge must meet a number of requirements, including educating themselves about current and emerging scam tactics, providing adequate warnings about the risks of pension scams, carrying out appropriate diligence on pensions transfers and reporting concerns about scams to members and the authorities.
- TPR has also made some minor updates to its Avoid Pension Scams guidance. TPR notes that scam tactics have evolved since the ban on cold calling was introduced – some scammers are using sophisticated online models, making contact through social media, or using friends and family to reach groups of people. The offer of a free “pensions review” still remains a key tactic. The revised guidance also includes a section on how to report a scam.
- Look out for our forthcoming #PensionsTensions videos! We have challenged members of our Pensions team to share their thoughts on topical issues in a series of 30-second challenges. The videos will be released on social media every Thursday, starting from tomorrow.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.