Here is our weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes that you might have missed, with links for further information.
In September 2021, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) published its criminal offences policy in relation to the investigation and prosecution of two new offences introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021. The offences relate to conduct risking accrued scheme benefits and avoidance of an employer debt. Before the policy was published, TPR undertook a consultation exercise. At that stage, the pensions industry queried how TPR’s powers would interact with those of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which also has power to prosecute offences under the Pension Schemes Act. TPR and the DWP have now published a memorandum of understanding, which sets out the arrangements agreed upon between the two bodies for effective cooperation and coordination in relation to the prosecution of the two new offences in England and Wales. Of note, it is expected that the DWP would not initiate a prosecution against a person for an offence where TPR has decided against prosecution (one of the concerns considered in TPR’s consultation). The memorandum (although not legally binding) provides that, should the DWP prosecute an offence, it would have regard to TPR’s criminal offences policy.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s (PLSA) latest DC Governance Watch publication examines issues encountered by pension scheme trustees when processing transfer requests, in compliance with legislation designed to help prevent pension scams. Alongside specific drafting issues relating to incentives and overseas investments, they comment on broader issues for trustees concerning how to implement the regulations and determine whether a red or amber flag has been met. The publication calls for amendments to the legislation to address these issues and suggests practical actions that trustees may wish to take now to streamline transfer processes and manage risk.
Pensions For Purpose, in conjunction with Redington, has published a white paper on reporting in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and associated regulatory requirements. The purpose of the paper is to give the perspectives of pension funds that have taken on the TCFD reporting process, to share insights on challenges and issues being faced and to explore how output is being used by funds. For a general summary of TCFD reporting for pension fund trustees, please see our #How2DoPensions quick guide.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme is issuing a series of short videos to dispel myths around pensions dashboards. The first videos can be found in this link and more will follow in the coming weeks.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues, or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.