ESG considerations

A trustee guide

We have already seen the law in this area change to recognise the impact that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can have on scheme investments and sponsor covenants, as well as savers' preferences. For example, trustees must produce a statement of investment principles (SIP) setting out their policies on financially material ESG considerations and stewardship. A new requirement to publish an implementation statement describing trustees' voting behaviour has also come into force.

Further developments in this area are on the horizon. In particular, the Pension Schemes Bill currently passing through Parliament and a DWP consultation suggest there will be additional disclosure and governance obligations for at least some schemes. If nothing else, the proposals in the pipeline show this area is being considered as increasingly important.

Pension scheme trustees need to ensure they fully understand their obligations in respect of ESG and are prepared for this to become a priority issue for schemes; both from a legal and member perspective.

Insights

DWP’s consultation on regulations under PSA 2021 strengthening TPR’s powers

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.

In conversation: Transfer to master trust

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. 

Occupational DC schemes - are you ready?

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.

The Pension Schemes Bill - Just the beginning?

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.

Pensions 2021 - the top six topics to watch

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.

Compliance Statements to CMA due by 7 January 2021

Requirements under the Investment Consultancy and Fiduciary Management Market Investigation Order 2019

The composition of the Retail Prices Index set to change

The composition of the RPI is set to change from February 2030. RPI index values will be calculated using the same methods and data sources that are used to calculate the CPIH. Based on recent economic conditions, this is likely to result in RPI being lower by an average of 1% per annum.

GMP equalisation – clarification on requirements for past transfers out

The long-awaited conclusion to the guaranteed minimum pensions equalisation litigation, concerning the Lloyds Banking Group’s defined benefit scheme, was handed down on Friday, 20 November 2020.

Pension fund management services provided to defined benefit schemes not exempt from VAT

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has put an end to any suggestion that pension fund management services provided to occupational pension schemes are VAT exempt on the basis of an insurance exemption.

Contact
Contact

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Pensions@shlegal.com