Pensions Weekly Update – 13 December 2023

December 2023
Region: Europe

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 updated its cybersecurity guidance. TPR notes that pension schemes are at risk of being targeted by cyberattacks because of the large amounts of personal data and assets that they hold. It says that for the first time, it is asking trustees and scheme providers to report significant cyber incidents, so it can build a better picture of the cyber risk facing the industry and its members. Interim director of regulatory policy, analysis and advice, Louise Davey, said, “Cyber risk is complex, evolving and requires a dynamic response. It’s a very real threat as we have seen from events this year…”.
  • Pension scheme returns that are issued for completion during January 2024 will include new questions relating to a scheme’s fiduciary managers and investment consultants. In relation to fiduciary managers, schemes will have to provide contact details, date of appointment, and information on whether a competitive tender process was used. In relation to investment consultants, schemes will have to provide contact details, date of appointment, information about when strategic objectives were set and the date of the next review. The answers to these questions will assist TPR in monitoring compliance with regulations that were made in 2022, which broadly reflect and replaced the provisions that applied to pension schemes set out in the investment consultancy and fiduciary management market investigation order 2019.
  • In our weekly update of 20 September 2023, we noted that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had used powers granted to it under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 to restate four areas of pensions law in a way that incorporates into UK legislation certain court decisions relating to equal treatment and Pension Protection Fund compensation. The draft regulations that were laid before Parliament were debated and approved and are now the Pensions Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) (Equal Treatment by Occupational Pension Schemes) Regulations 2023 and the Pensions Act 2004 (Amendment) (Pension Protection Fund Compensation) Regulations 2023. They come into force immediately before the end of 2023.
  • The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has issued connection ready guidance to help with pensions dashboards preparation. PASA believes that some momentum has been lost due to the dashboards reset. This guidance is intended to help the pensions industry and trustees to get back on track, ahead of the DWP’s connection guidance (expected spring 2024) that will set out expected connection dates based on scheme type and size. PASA estimates that 18 months or more of preparation is needed for a scheme to be fully connection ready.
  • The Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum has published its grid setting out the regulatory pipeline for the next 24 months. This indicates that TPR’s new general code is expected to be in place by April 2024, but that this is subject to parliamentary time being available. Likewise, while the new funding regulations are expected to be laid before Parliament in Q1 of 2024, the grid notes that TPR’s new defined benefit funding code is likely to be in place during Q2 of 2024, and that both are subject to parliamentary time being available. So far as any change to the notifiable events regime is concerned, the grid does not include a timeframe “due to significant uncertainty around delivery”.
  • Have you seen our Winter Hot Topics in Pensions? We pick out ten highlights. It was a struggle to pick only ten hot topics this time! We have a theme of winter board games and entertainment. Continuing with this theme, see if you can complete our pensions festive word search. There is a £50 Amazon gift card for the winner.

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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