Current Issues March 2022

Conflict In Ukraine – TPR Expectations

TPR has released a short note on the volatility in investment markets caused by the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.  TPR expects Trustees to consider liquidity, short and long-term impact on investments, covenant and cyber-security amongst other matters.  TPR warns against making hasty, uninformed decisions about overall investment portfolios.  TPRs note can be found here: 

TPR on Conflict in Ukraine

Pension Wise Guidance – Trustees to give a ‘stronger nudge’ : 

From 1st June 2022, trustees of occupational DC pension schemes must offer to book a Pension Wise appointment for members if a) they are over 50 and wish to transfer to another arrangement, or b) they choose to access flexible benefits.  If members have received regulated advice there will be no need for a Pension Wise appointment.  If members are consolidating benefits, without intending to take flexible benefits, there will be no need for a Pension Wise appointment.  Trustees and managers will be expected to offer to make an appointment for the member and to keep a record of the members decision to take guidance, or to opt-out of taking guidance. 

TPR offers free scams webinar: 

TPR is offering a free scams webinar to trustees and other interested parties on 30th March 2022 from 2:30pm.  The webinar will look at the evolving scams landscape and TPRs transfer guidance, as well as an update from the Pension Scams Industry Group.  To view the agenda and register, please follow this link: TPR Pension Scam Webinar

Age Discrimination – Key pensions exemption challenged:   

 In a recent Employment Tribunal (Beattie v 20-20 Trustee Service & Federal Mogul), doubt was cast over a pensions exemption that currently exists in age discrimination legislation.  The case involves a scheme that is being assessed for entry to the Pension Protection Fund.  Some scheme members are claiming that the PPF rules are age discriminatory, due to the fact that its rules provide less compensation for members who are under normal pension age.  Age discrimination laws came into effect from 1st December 2006, benefits accrued before that date were generally not reviewed or amended.  One important question dealt with by the Tribunal was whether the exemption for pre 1st December 2006 benefits was compatible with EU law.  The Tribunal judge said that it was incompatible and should be disapplied.  If this was to be supported by a higher Court, it could mean that schemes would need to review pre 1st December 2006 benefits and remove any age discriminatory treatment.  No action is required by schemes yet, but this is a case to watch. 

HMRC – Online Services:   

HMRC is introducing ‘Managing Pension Schemes’ to replace ‘Pension Schemes Online’ which Trustees as Scheme Administrators must register with to continue to provide information and tax returns.  If Trustees rely on administrators to report to HMRC as Scheme Practitioners, then they will still need to take action to register with ‘Managing Pension Schemes’ as Practitioners will not be able to do this for them.  We will be contacting all clients shortly with details of what they will need to do. 

GMP Revaluation Change:   

The fixed rate of revaluation for Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) for those leaving pensionable service between 6th April 2022 and 5th April 2027 will be 3.25% pa.  This is only relevant for schemes that are still open to accrual for members who have a GMP entitlement. 

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