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.
- PASA has issued guidance on Dashboards – Pensions Values, stating that “now is the time for administrators to take action” so that they are ready to present scheme value data on pensions dashboards by each scheme’s connection date. This will involve engagement with trustees, platform providers and/or integrated service providers, as well as other advisers, to understand and agree what actions need to be taken. “The sooner you create your plans the sooner you make other parties aware of them and beat the inevitable rush to make changes as staging dates get closer.” As a reminder, TPR’s initial guidance on dashboards contains a checklist for trustees to ensure they are on track to meet their dashboards duties.
- The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued its scheme funding analysis 2022, which is based on defined benefit and hybrid schemes with effective actuarial valuation dates from 22 September 2019 to 21 September 2020 (also known as tranche 15 schemes). The report shows funding trends and describes arrangements for recovery plans, employer contributions and contingent security. 27% of tranche 15 schemes reported a surplus on the technical provisions funding basis.
- If you run a non-standard pension scheme, which is set up under trust, take note. You have until 1 September 2022 to register your pension scheme with HMRC's Trust Registration Service (TRS). The TRS was set up in compliance with the EU's fourth and fifth money laundering directives and, since then, its remit has been extended. Originally, only those trusts that were liable to pay certain UK taxes needed to register. That has now changed, so that all trusts, with certain exceptions, must register, whether or not they incur UK taxes. If you have a directors' executive pension scheme, for example, which is not a registered pension scheme, it will need to be registered on the TRS. There is no need, however, to submit details of a registered pension scheme or a life assurance only scheme. If you would like further information, please get in touch with your usual firm contact.
- 1 October will see the usual flurry of pensions legislation that comes into force. Here is a selection of measures to be aware of:
- Regulations incorporating into pensions legislation the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) order in relation to the investment consultancy and fiduciary management market. Hopefully, this will simplify the compliance certification process for trustees, who will no longer have to make a direct submission to the CMA. Instead, they will confirm compliance with the CMA order via the annual pension scheme return.
- Regulations introducing simpler annual benefit statements for those pension schemes that provide defined contribution benefits only, which are also used for automatic enrolment purposes. From 1 October 2022, these schemes will be required to produce information in a format that does not exceed one double-sided sheet of A4 size paper when issuing a paper statement and the equivalent length when the information is printed, if issuing an email or online statement.
- Climate change governance and reporting requirements (TCFD Requirements) for occupational pension schemes with £1 billion or more of assets as at the scheme year end falling on or after 1 March 2021. This builds on the requirements that came into force from 1 October 2021 for pension schemes with £5 billion or more of assets, authorised master trusts and authorised collective defined contribution schemes.
- A requirement to calculate and report a metric setting out the extent to which scheme investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals. This will apply for all schemes that are subject to the TCFD Requirements.
- Statutory guidance aiming to improve stewardship standards through implementation statements.
- At the time of writing, we still do not know when changes to the notifiable events regime, introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021, will come into force.
- Our UK employment colleagues are running a webinar that may be of interest to some of our pensions readers. The webinar will address the current challenges facing employers in the UK, and the legal and practical issues for them to consider as they develop their approach to the cost of living crisis. The webinar will be held on 11 August at noon – you can register for this event on our website.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.