Here is our round-up of current issues and viewpoints from July

TPR – DB Funding Code to be in force from September 2023:   TPR is expected to launch a second consultation on the DB funding code in the autumn with the code operational from September 2023.  However, these timings may be subject to change.

Pensions Dashboard – TPR to take a firm line:  TPR expects all trustees to have scheme data in order well ahead of their dashboard staging date. TPR has indicated that they will take a dim view of any scheme that has failed to prepare adequately for its staging date. TPR has published guidance which outlines trustees’ legal duties and includes a checklist designed to help schemes manage progress. This can be found here:  Pensions Dashboard Guidance  Under current proposals, schemes with fewer than 100 members (excluding pensioners) are not in scope, but may be included in future legislation.  Schemes with between 100 and 999 active and deferred members will have staging dates between October 2024 and October 2025.

GMP Equalisation – Guide for past transfers-out:  The GMP Equalisation Working Group has issued guidance on some implications of past transfers. The guide takes the form of a checklist which trustees may use to consider questions to consider and the administrative implications. The guidance can be found here:  PASA GMP Equalisation Guidance

Pension Scams – Trustees and providers urged to report suspected scams:  A guide, jointly published by TPR, the FCA and Action Fraud, encourages all those responsible for the management and operation of DB schemes to report actual and suspected scams. Reports should be made to Action Fraud when you believe a scam has happened, there is a ‘reg flag’ on a transfer or you suspect a scam is taking place. The 5-page guide can be found here: Reporting Pension Scams Guide

Pension Transfers – DWP and TPR on regulations:  Due to concerns being raised about pension transfers being unnecessarily delayed, particularly where overseas investments and ‘small incentives’ are concerned, DWP and TPR have issued a joint statement in which they state that the transfer regulations are ‘not intended to impose additional burdens on schemes or administrators, or to impact on standard business practices. The statement adds, ‘Most pension transfers are legitimate and can proceed with minimum intervention. The legislation should have no impact on the process for transfers that, prior to the introduction of the regulations, would have caused no concern.’  TPR has updated guidance on dealing with transfer requests to try to address how schemes look at ‘small incentives’ (currently a Red Flag) and ‘overseas investments’ (currently an Amber Flag). TPRs statement indicates the tension between protecting members from scams and the wish for members, and their advisers, to complete transfers quickly.

HMRC – Action needed to migrate schemes to Managing Pension Scheme:  HMRC has issued pension schemes newsletter 139, which reiterates the need to migrate pension schemes from the existing Pensions Schemes Online service to the new Managing Pension Schemes service (MPS). Those registered as Administrators should now look at the information needed and take action to collect it so they can migrate  their schemes. HMRC’s newsletter states that schemes can no longer submit Accounting for Tax (AFT) returns via Pension Schemes Online. All returns must be submitted on the new Managing Pension Schemes service. Any scheme needing to submit a return for the quarter to 31st June 2022 will have had to migrate their scheme and submit a return by 14th August to avoid interest and penalties.

Competition and Markets Authority – Reporting:  Trustees will be aware that in 2020 and 2021, confirmations that the scheme complied with the CMA Order had to be sent via e-mail by early January. Regulations are now expected to come into force in October which will see TPR taking over from the CMA in monitoring and enforcing compliance. This is likely to mean that, rather than an e-mail to CMA, trustees will have to confirm compliance by additional questions to be added to the annual Scheme Return.

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