Pensions Weekly Update – 11 January 2023

January 2023
Region: Europe

Happy New Year to all of our clients and contacts! Our weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes is back for 2023.

  • We noted in December that the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has published its levy rules for 2023-24. In order to reduce a scheme’s levy amount, January is traditionally the time when trustees and employers consider whether to put in place contingent assets or recertify existing contingent assets. If you would like assistance with this before the PPF’s deadline of 31 March 2023, please get in touch with your usual firm contact.
  • There are changes afoot at The Pensions Regulator (TPR). It was announced that David Fairs, TPR’s executive director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice, will be leaving the role in mid-March 2023. At the end of March 2023, Nausicaa Delfas (currently executive director, Governance, at the Financial Conduct Authority) will replace Charles Counsell as chief executive of TPR. It will be interesting to see whether the change in leadership brings about any change of direction in due course. In the meantime, just a reminder of progress on two key TPR initiatives: we expect the single code of practice to be laid before Parliament very soon, and if you are planning to respond to TPR’s consultation on the defined benefit funding code of practice, you have until 24 March 2023.
  • Lesley Titcomb CBE has led a Department for Work and Pensions review of the PPF. It focused on the four key areas required to form part of a public body review: governance, accountability, efficacy and efficiency. Ms. Titcomb said that she “found the PPF to be a well-run public body offering high standards of service and value for money to those who use it and pay for it.” The review makes some recommendations for the purpose of enhancing the PPF’s operations. The most interesting recommendations include:
    • The PPF should explore the feasibility of managing investments for government and/or acting as a consolidator for schemes that are unlikely to be attractive to commercial consolidators
    • The PPF should seek to provide a levy calculator for schemes and their employers via its website so that they can work out what their risk-based levy charge will be in pounds and pence
    • The PPF should consider whether it would be appropriate to seek Financial Conduct Authority authorisation and regulation for either the PPF itself or a dedicated subsidiary, given the increased significance of the investment management function
  • We would like to congratulate Anthony Arter for being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list for services to the pensions industry and to charity. Anthony Arter has been the pensions ombudsman and pension protection fund ombudsman since May 2015. He will remain as deputy pensions ombudsman when Dominic Harris takes over the reins from 16 January 2023.
  • Thank you to all those who entered our Festive UK Pensions Crossword. There were lots of correct entries, but Robert Hart of Capita was the winner − congratulations! The answers to the crossword clues have been posted on our website (and the winning word for the traditional addition to a sparkly celebration was “TINSEL”)!

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

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