Aries monitors every development in new and proposed legislation and official guidance. Clients are kept up to date via the website, email alerts and tweets. Aries serves as a one-stop source of intelligence on everything that is going on and coming up. Aries doesn't miss anything of significance.
Here is a selection from our most recent headlines. You can get the fuller details by sending us an email - just click here to fire one off.
The Queen's Speech
2019 today has introduced the expected Pension Schemes Bill:
"To help people plan for the future, measures will be brought forward to provide simpler oversight of pensions savings. To protect people's savings for later life, new laws will provide greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes."
The Briefing Notes add slightly more detail
examples of other questions schemes may encounter, which could be incorporated in future updates.
Those revisions will arrive as and when there are material developments. One which is expected is publication of HMRC guidance; many schemes will choose to wait for this before they implement an equalisation project.
An appendix to the guidance provides . . .
09 Oct 2019
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has announced
an 8% increase to its levy estimate for 2020/21: it expects to collect £620m, up from from £575m in 2019/20.
Whilst there are few changes to the methodology, the rise reflects expected increases in scheme risks. Scheme funding is expected to decline thanks to the significant recent reduction in gilt yields. The PPF thinks this will translate into pension schemes being, in aggregate, less well funded.
On contingent assets, the PPF has reviewed its experience of the requirement, introduced in 2018/19, for guarantor strength reports to be submitted where the anticipated levy benefit was £100,000 or more. The PPF is satisfied with the rigour applied in most cases, but has proposed revised guidance
with the aim of ensuring that the reports provide a holistic assessment and avoid a tick box approach. It has also clarified its . . .
09 Oct 2019
On 20 September 2019, to no fanfare at all at the time, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) published rewritten guidance
on record-keeping. This guidance for trustees can be found within the 'Governance and administration
' area of the 'Managing DB benefits
' section of TPR's website.
In a related press release on 2 October 2019, TPR revealed it has asked 400 schemes to conduct a data review within six months. TPR expects schemes to review data at least once a year.
It appears the schemes in question have failed to comply and have not reviewed data in the last three years. Fines of up to £5,000 for an individual or up to £50,000 in any other case could be incoming.
The statement references the latest 'managing DB' record-keeping guidance, the intention being to help trustees and scheme managers to meet their duties. However, the 400 schemes in the spotlight are not solely defined benefit (DB): they include defined contribution (DC) and
public service schemes. The press release does not however cite the separate record-keeping guidance
aimed at DC schemes (published June 2016) or the record-keeping section of the public service Code of Practice (Code 14
). The DC guidance does reference this latest DB guidance, which in turn refers to public service schemes throughout. This new guidance then has application beyond DB schemes, despite its current positioning on . . .
04 Oct 2019