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.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued a blog reminding trustees that complying with pensions dashboards requirements is a big project. TPR encourages trustees to follow its checklist, which breaks down the stages of the project into bite-sized chunks. We remind readers that we expect consultation soon on guidance that will contain a revised staging timeline, indicating when schemes (by membership size and type) are scheduled to connect to dashboards.
The Taskforce on Social Factors, which was established by the Department for Work and Pensions following its consultation on social risks and opportunities, has published a draft guide for consultation. “The guide is intended to provide pension trustees with the tools to identify and monitor social risks and opportunities and develop consensus in approaching these across the pension investment landscape.” It considers why material social factors are important from an investment perspective, and how taking these into consideration aligns with pension trustees’ fiduciary duties. It looks at the data available when assessing social factors and it sets out a framework for pension trustees. The draft guide also takes a look at stewardship issues and contains recommendations for pension trustees, their advisers, government and regulators. The final appendix sets out seven case studies. Consultation on the draft guide closes on 1 December 2023.
TPR has issued the script of a keynote speech delivered by its CEO, Nausicaa Delfas, at the annual conference of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. The key themes of the speech are around a changing pensions landscape (in particular, scheme consolidation and protecting and helping pensions savers) and how TPR will support this evolution. The quality of trusteeship is under scrutiny, with TPR and the Department for Work and Pensions looking to “improve quality of governance across all trustee boards”. TPR also plans to be “more assertive” when dealing with compliance failures.
Eleven organisations, including Age UK, the Association of British Insurers and the Association of Professional Pension Trustees have signed up to a charter ahead of the next general election, calling for an adequate, affordable and fair pensions system. The charter notes that it has been almost 20 years since the Pensions Commission proposed reforms to the UK pensions system and, while there have been improvements to the state pension and the introduction of automatic enrolment, more needs to be done.
In our latest blog, Pensions associate Pete Stanley looks at how to avoid trapped surpluses in defined benefit (DB) schemes.
Did you see last week’s Pensions Life Hack by Pensions partner Philip Sutton, “Expression of Wishes Forms – Avoiding Pitfalls”? Look out for our next Life Hack, in which Pensions associate Mike Gorton will offer tips on how to resolve defined contribution liabilities (e.g. additional voluntary contributions) when buying out benefits from a DB scheme.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.