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 published a response to its consultation on the draft pensions dashboards regulations. The summary document highlights the key changes, which include changes to the connection deadline dates for large master trust schemes, large money purchase schemes used for automatic enrolment, public service pension schemes and hybrid schemes. The response contains clarifications on the value data that schemes are required to return to pensions dashboards and confirms that greater flexibility will be given, including a simplified approach to calculating revalued accrued values for deferred members of defined benefit (DB) schemes and options for presenting DB values where there are different “tranches” of benefits. There are also amendments relating to value data for public service pension schemes in the process of implementing the “McCloud” remedy. The DWP is modifying its connection requirements for schemes in a Pension Protection Fund assessment period and for schemes in wind-up.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has issued a consultation on dashboards standards, which will run until 30 August 2022. The standards set out the technical and operational detail underpinning the dashboards legislation. The PDP has also issued a call for input on the design standards, to set requirements for how pensions data will be presented (including messaging and signposting). The standards will be explained in a series of webinars. See our latest blog, A Recipe for Success – Dishing Up Pensions Dashboards, for a roundup of dashboards news.
If you can find space in your diary, TPR is “calling on trustees, scheme managers and administrators to attend a pensions dashboards webinar on 28 July at 2.30pm”.
The DWP has issued a response to its call for evidence on the consideration of social risks and opportunities by occupational pension schemes – described as the “first attempt in the world to look into this issue”. While there are some strong examples of stewardship on social factors, there is more to do. The DWP is launching a new taskforce led by the Pensions Minister to identify reliable data and metrics to ensure focus on social factors throughout the investment chain.
It is good news that the Pension Protection Fund reports a “strong financial position” with “healthy reserves”, in its annual report and accounts 2021/2022. “Assuming our funding position remains robust over the next three-year period, our expectation remains that we will look to reduce how much levy we collect in keeping with our long-stated intention.” The funding strategy is explained further in a blog.
TPR and The Pensions Ombudsman have also issued their reports and accounts for 2021/2022. At 182 pages and 116 pages respectively, the reports do not constitute light reading, so we have provided a link to the accompanying press releases, which offer an overview.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has issued a detailed guide for pension scheme trustees exploring how cyber risks can be assessed, reduced and managed, and how to prepare for breaches.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.