Pensions Weekly Update – 15 September 2021

    View Author September 2021

    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 has issued draft regulations and a consultation on proposed changes to the notifiable events regime that applies to defined benefit pension schemes. The consultation sets out the proposed new requirements to notify The Pensions Regulator (TPR) of corporate activity that may affect a pension scheme. The consultation closes on 27 October 2021 and the legislation is expected to come into force on 6 April 2022. There are two new notifiable events. The first is a decision in principle by an employer to sell a material proportion of its business or assets. The second is a decision in principle by an employer to grant or extend a relevant security over its assets, where the grant or extension would result in the secured creditor being ranked above the scheme in the order of priority for debt recovery. An existing notifiable event relating to the intended or actual relinquishment of control by a controlling company over a scheme employer will be amended so that TPR should be notified when a decision in principle is reached. For these three “super” notifiable events, there is a further step – an accompanying statement must be supplied to TPR when the main terms of the transaction have been proposed, describing the impact on the pension scheme, the action that is being taken to mitigate any detrimental effects and the communications with the trustees. TPR also proposes to drop its unused wrongful trading notification. When the regulations are finalised, employers and trustees should ensure that all key personnel are aware of the new requirements and that reporting procedures and communication protocols are clear.
    • The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) is launching a new Diploma in Pension Trusteeship on Wednesday 20 October 2021. According to the PMI, the diploma has been designed to improve professional trustees’ technical knowledge and play a part in raising the standards of trusteeship. It will allow trustees to demonstrate competency in problem-solving, judgement, the balancing of competing interests, analysis and prioritisation. The course will be assessed by a two-hour examination.
    • One of our previous weekly updates contained a useful reminder of Pension Schemes Act 2021 developments that we are expecting over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for the final transfer regulations – all schemes will need to implement procedural changes to their statutory transfer process.
    • If you have not yet seen our “Pensions Lessons for Trustees – Back to Basics”, have a look at our annual back-to-school themed publication, which summarises recent developments, highlights what to look out for in the months ahead and gives you 21 actions for your agenda.

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