Pensions Weekly Update – 27 January 2021

January 2021
Region: Europe

Here is our weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes, which you might have missed, with links for further information.

  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed the levels of the auto-enrolment earnings trigger and qualifying earnings band for the 2021/22 tax year. The earnings trigger will remain fixed at £10,000. The lower end of the qualifying earnings band will remain at £6,240 (in line with the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions). The upper end of the qualifying earnings band will increase to £50,270 (to remain in line with the upper earnings limit for national insurance contributions). The DWP says that this year’s figures reflect “the need for stability at this point” but it expects that freezing the earnings trigger will bring around 8,000 additional pension savers into the auto-enrolment system.
  • The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), along with several large pension funds, have written a letter to the Prime Minister offering to work with the government to deliver successful outcomes ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is scheduled for this November in Glasgow. The signatories to the letter note that “The UK is in a unique position to mobilise climate ambition globally”.
  • The DWP has said that the publication of its outcome of consultation on delivering the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommendation for trustee oversight of investment consultants and fiduciary managers will be further delayed until early 2022. This means that trustees will, again, have to make their annual compliance submission direct to the CMA (by 7 January 2022), rather than through the pension scheme return.
  • We reported last week that all points on the pension schemes bill had now been agreed between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and that we are waiting for Royal Assent, when the bill will become an Act of Parliament. Read our blog by Catherine McKenna, covering key points on the bill and watch out for our client communication on the topic.
  • Did you see last week’s 30-second #PensionsTensions video on the subject of Brexit and COVID-19? Look out for this week’s video on our social media platforms.

If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.

Stop press – The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has now issued its PPF levy rules for 2021/22 and the DWP has published non-statutory guidance for trustees of occupational pension schemes on assessing, managing and reporting climate-related risks in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.