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 Information Commissioner’s Office has published a consultation on a new draft international data transfer agreement (IDTA) and guidance, which will replace Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). Many UK pension scheme trustees and their service providers currently rely on SCCs to demonstrate that they have complied with restrictions in data protection legislation that apply to transfers of personal data outside the UK/the EEA (including where the personal data is held in the UK but is accessed by an organisation outside the UK/the EEA). It is, therefore, likely that new arrangements and contractual protections will need to be put in place for these transfers of personal data in the future. In the meantime, pension scheme trustees should be asking questions of their service providers to identify whether and how personal data relating to the pension scheme is being transferred to (or accessed from) outside the UK/the EEA, and gain information regarding the steps taken to ensure compliance with data protection legislation.
The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has published his corporate plan for the next three years. The corporate plan notes the increasing complexity of complaints being made to TPO, and cites the Norton case as an example (where there were allegations of mishandling of pension funds by a conflicted trustee). TPO also considers some of the areas on the pensions horizon that could result in extra complaints to TPO in the long term, such as the new transfer restrictions being introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (PSA21) and the implementation of the Pensions Dashboards, which might enable a person to realise earlier than previously that they have an issue with a pension arrangement.
We thought you might find it useful to have a reminder of some of the PSA21 developments that we are expecting over the next couple of months. On 1 October 2021, governance, reporting and disclosure requirements in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures will come into force for the largest occupational pension schemes and authorised master trusts. Also on 1 October 2021, we are expecting regulations dealing with the new employer resources test (for contribution notices) and regulations relating to the enhanced interview and inspection powers for The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to come into effect. Other measures under the PSA21, such as regulations expanding upon changes to transfer legislation (pension scams), criminal sanctions and TPR's new penalties regime, are expected to be in force in the autumn.
Yesterday, TPR issued a short interim response to its consultation on the single code of practice confirming that it needs more time to consider fully the issues that respondents raised. The single code of practice is not expected to come into force until summer 2022, but a lot of preparatory work can be done in the meantime. Our roadmap sets out some simple steps towards compliance.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.