Pensions Weekly Update – 21 February 2024

February 2024
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 published its 2023 official statistics on the defined benefit (DB) and hybrid scheme landscape in the UK. The publication reports on scheme status, membership levels and assets under management. TPR reports that the DB and hybrid landscape continues to shrink at a consistent rate (2% since 2022). It says that the percentage of DB and hybrid schemes closed to future accrual (excluding those in windup) has risen from 70% to 72%. Scheme funding levels are reported to have improved since 2022, with the number of schemes with 100% or greater technical provisions funding levels increased from 2,565 to 3,620. For schemes in deficit, TPR reports that the overall deficit has more than halved, reducing from £63.61 billion to £27,673,000,000.
  • The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published its Stewardship & Voting Guidelines 2024. The 2024 guidelines contain a new section on social factors, which notes the work undertaken by the Taskforce on Social Factors. There are new paragraphs on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, and the guidelines expand on issues around environmental, social and governance (ESG), including a paragraph on biodiversity. The 2024 guidelines also reflect on the recent political and economic landscape and how this impacts the topics that investors engage with when considering stewardship.
  • Ahead of the abolition of the lifetime allowance (LTA) on 6 April 2024, HMRC’s latest LTA newsletter covers frequently asked questions on lump sums and lump sum death benefits, reporting requirements, overseas transfer allowance, protections and enhancement factors and transitional arrangements.
  • On 27 February 2024, colleagues in our investment funds team will be holding a webinar on the UK’s new sustainability disclosure requirements and their overlap with the existing EU sustainable finance disclosure regulation.
  • We are delighted to announce some promotions within our Pensions team! Congratulations to Anna Tomlinson and Simon James who have been promoted to director, Peter Stanley who has been promoted to senior associate, and Beth Darragh who has been promoted to A2 associate.

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

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