Risk and operations
Running pension arrangements effectively is increasingly challenging for employers and trustees. Operational efficiency is vital as is a tight control of costs and proper risk management, and we’ve been helping clients mitigate these risks for over 50 years.
With the increasing use of technology, the heightened risk of cyber crime and the new data protection requirements which came into force in May 2018, it is more important than ever that trustees and employers are on top of these issues. We advise on administration agreements, transparency of costs and charges, and business continuity risk, as well as helping clients comply with the GDPR.
We regularly help clients with reviews of their member communications, including websites, investment materials and retirement packs. This not only ensures that legal disclosure requirements are met but also helps to deal with the growing issues around member engagement and the “advice gap”.
We also have a team of experts who specialise in dealing with member disputes, often heading them off before they escalate into Pensions Ombudsman complaints or claims that go to court.
Scheme administration can also give rise to governance issues. In recent years, pensions liberation has been on the increase, and schemes have had to ensure that they are on the alert for scams. We assist with putting checks in place to identify potential pensions liberation, communicating with members and helping them work out whether transfer payments should be made.
Tax is also an important part of scheme operations. For example, where unauthorised payments are made, schemes need to account to HMRC for tax. We’re able to provide guidance on what is due and the processes for dealing with this, as well as any arising VAT implications.
- Advising and negotiating administration contracts. This included involvement in the tender process and input into commercial points, as well as advice on legal points such as allocation of risk, liability and data protection
- Reviewing member communications of all types and formats, including website text and scripts for presentations and videos
- Proactive management of transfer cases where there is potential for pensions liberation, where we balance compliance with members’ statutory rights with the potential for scams to disadvantage members, and the potential for members who wish to transfer to challenge trustees and administrators if they perceive there to be delay or they are not satisfied with the outcome.