7 days

7 Days is a weekly round up of developments in pensions, normally published on Monday afternoons. We collate this information from key industry sources, such as the DWP, HMRC and TPR.

In this 7 Days

Government announces expansion of Dormant Assets Scheme

A dormant asset is a financial product, such as a bank account, which has not been used for many years, and which the provider has been unable to reunite with its owner despite efforts aligned with industry best practice. Under the Dormant Assets Scheme, assets classified as dormant can be distributed towards social and environmental initiatives across the UK.

Following a four year review and public consultation process, the Government has announced an expansion to the Dormant Assets Scheme, so that dormant assets across the insurance and pensions, investment, wealth management, and securities sectors may be unlocked and made available to support the UK as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Pension products will be included only in “specific and tightly prescribed circumstances”, with careful thought given to those products that overlap with automatic enrolment vehicles, and the situation reassessed as the pensions landscape evolves over the coming years.

It has been estimated that this expansion will unlock over £800 million for communities across the UK.

FCA details MoUs with European authorities

The FCA has set out details of memoranda of understanding (“MoUs”) that it has entered into with European authorities in the areas of securities, insurance and pensions, and banking, and confirmed that these came into effect at the end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020.

The MoUs include, among others, those agreed with EIOPA on information exchange and mutual assistance between the UK authorities and EIOPA in the field of insurance regulation and supervision.

HMRC updates guidance on the CJRS

HMRC’s CJRS suite of guidance, including for employees and employers, has been updated with information about caring responsibilities resulting from COVID 19.

IFoA publishes report on end-states for DB pension schemes

The IFoA has published a report on “target end-states” for DB pension schemes. The report outlines the issues that trustees, employers and their advisers may consider when addressing the target end-state of their schemes, including buy-out or transfer to a superfund, and the associated journey plan. It sets out a five-step methodology for determining an appropriate target end-state for a scheme.

Investment in overseas legal cannabis industry

Pension schemes may be invested in funds with exposure to or companies involved in the production and distribution of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes (in countries where this is legal). This area raises some interesting questions, and is starting to be more widely raised with trustees by their investment providers.

Please speak to your usual Sackers contact if you have any questions.

Law Society publishes Q&A on electronic signatures

The Law Society has published a Q&A on electronic signatures in commercial law matters. The Q&A covers questions in relation to witnessing, methods of electronic signature, company board minutes and articles of association.

Judicial review of exit payment regulations

The LGPS Advisory Board has confirmed that permission has been granted to hear three requests for judicial review of the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payment Regulations 2020, which came into force on 4 November 2020 and impose a £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments. The requests, which were made by a number of trade unions, will be heard together in the latter half of March 2021 and contest the regulations on several grounds, including their effect on the existing LGPS regulations.

The LGPS Advisory Board has asked for confirmation that these proceedings will, until they are complete, prevent any direction by TPO in relation to this matter. Scheme members will still be able to bring claims against employers and LGPS administering authorities, but these may be stayed during the judicial review process.