Pensions Weekly Update – 17 March 2021

March 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 Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published its consultation document on its approach to the investigation and prosecution of the new criminal sanctions introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021. TPR says that its approach will be guided by its understanding of the policy intention, i.e. that the new powers are aimed at enabling TPR to address the more serious intentional or reckless conduct that was already within scope of its contribution notice powers, or would be in scope if the person were connected with the scheme employer. On the subject of retrospectivity, TPR says that evidence "pre-dating [commencement date – 1 October 2021] may be relevant to our investigation/prosecution of actions after that date, for example if it indicates someone’s intention".
  • TPR has also issued its 15-year Corporate Strategy, which recognises the challenges faced by different cohorts – from baby boomers to Generation Z. The strategy reflects, among other things, the fundamental shift from defined benefit to defined contribution membership due to auto-enrolment (to a large extent). TPR has identified five strategic priorities, including prioritising the security of pensions savings by stepping up the fight against scams and driving pensions consolidation where this is in members’ best interests. TPR also plans to increase its focus on scheme decision-makers, including those who manage savers’ exposure to economic risks, including ESG.
  • The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has announced the launch of the Net Zero Investment Framework implementation guide, which was first published in draft for consultation in August 2020. The IIGCC notes that already 38 investors (comprising asset owners and managers), together managing a combined US$8.5 trillion in assets, are already putting the framework to use.
  • The Finance Bill 2021 has been published. It amends the Finance Act 2004 to implement measures freezing the lifetime allowance at the current £1,073,100 until 6 April 2026 and to take account of collective money purchase pension schemes.
  • We are delighted to have reached 1 million social media views over the last four years on our #How2DoPensions, #PensionsTensions and #meetPAUL campaigns. Our suite of quick guides, factsheets, briefings and key communications are available in our Thought Leadership Library.

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