Last month, the trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers pension plan secured a victory in court to rectify the plan’s rules. In addition to rectification, the judgment deals with issues including proper consultation with the plan actuary for valid amendments and the principle of bona fide purchaser for value without notice as a bar to rectification. Chris Edwards-Earl looks at these issues in a recent article published in Professional Pensions.
Trustees should be aware that they will have new obligations with respect to statutory transfers out from 30 November 2021. The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Conditions for Transfers) Regulations 2021 will provide trustees with new obligations in a bid to protect members from transfers to scam arrangements. The regulations will require further transfer due diligence checks from trustees before a transfer can be made and will prevent transfers where 'red flags' are present. The regulations also require trustees to ensure that members receive scam advice from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) where certain warning signs are present.
Writing for the Financial Times' Pensions Expert, senior associate Chris Edwards-Earl discusses the Pensions Regulator's consultation on a new code for Contribution Notices.
Pensions analysis: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published its response to its consultation on the proposed drafting of two regulations which would strengthen the powers of the Pensions Regulator (TPR) to issue contribution notices and gather information, following changes introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021. Chris Edwards-Earl discusses the response.
Pensions analysis: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched a consultation on changes to its Code of Practice 12 following the introduction, by the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (PSA 2021), of new tests in relation to its Contribution Notice (CN) power. Stephen Richards and Chris Edwards-Earl comment on TPR’s consultation.
In a piece first published by Professional Pensions, senior associate Chris Edwards-Earl and partner Helena Berman look at the judgment in Kingsley Napley LLP v Harris & Another.
Moving to a superfund
With ever increasing costs associated with defined benefit (DB) pension schemes and buyouts being out of reach for many, the advent of DB superfunds may offer some employers an alternative.
Whilst a legislative framework for DB superfunds is still awaited, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) has recognised that the industry is not going to stand still. TPR has therefore set out its own regime to regulate this area in the meantime.
This brochure sets out some key considerations for trustees and employers to take into account when considering if transferring to a superfund is appropriate for them. It also summarises how the two current superfunds operate as well providing a guide on the process for a superfund transfer in accordance with TPR’s guidance.
The 248-page Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act provides additional options and protections for companies that would otherwise be facing insurmountable financial pressure. Sue Moore and Chris Edwards-Earl explore how the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 will affect pension schemes.
Click here to view. The article is behind a paywall.
Chris Edwards-Earl comments that under the recently enacted Pension Schemes Act 2021 (PSA 2021), the powers of the Pensions Regulator (TPR) were clarified and expanded.
This is an important conversation for anyone involved with a workplace DC pension scheme. The government has proposed some draft regulations which are due to come into effect on 5 October 2021. These are likely to force those running workplace trust-based DC schemes to transfer those schemes to a master trust.
From October 2021, it is proposed that new and game-changing obligations for those involved in occupational defined contribution (DC) schemes will come into force. These will require certain schemes to compare their value for members against the value offered by large commercial DC schemes and, ultimately, result in increased consolidation of schemes in this area.
It was widely anticipated in the pensions industry that the Pension Schemes Bill (the Bill) would receive Royal Assent at the end of 2020. However, it is perhaps unsurprising it did not get over the line with much of the Government's time taken up with Brexit and Covid-19. It has, however now passed through all of the Parliamentary stages and is awaiting Royal Assent.
2020 was not the year that any of us expected. With Brexit and Covid-19 occupying much of the Government's time, it is little surprise that some of the developments that were expected to occur in the pensions world did not materialise. As a result, we expect 2021 to be a busy year for the pensions industry, with changes on the horizon that sponsors, trustees and pensions professionals will need to get to grips with.
When the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, a transitional period started during which the relationship between the UK and the EU continued as if the UK were still a part of the EU. That Brexit transition period ended at 23:00 on 31 December 2020. The last-minute UK-EU trade agreement then took effect.