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
- DWP announces new pensions dashboards connection deadline of 31 October 2026
- PASA publishes dashboards values guidance
- TPR publishes blog on protecting DC members from economic volatility
- TPR publishes updated monetary penalties policy and value for members guidance
- PLSA publishes paper on supporting pension investment in UK growth
- TPO investigates cyber incident
On 8 June 2023, Laura Trott, the Pensions Minister, announced the revised deadline for schemes to connect to pensions dashboards. A single connection deadline of 31 October 2026 will apply to all schemes in scope (though dashboards could become publicly available earlier than this). A revised staging timetable will be set out in guidance which the Government will publish following collaboration “with industry this year”. This announcement follows the March 2023 ministerial statement resetting the pensions dashboard timetable.
Following this announcement:
- the DWP published draft regulations to reflect the changes and is updating its guidance on deferred connection, which it expects to publish “shortly”
- the FCA is expected to make corresponding changes to the dashboard rules for FCA-regulated pension providers shortly after Parliament approves the amending regulations
- TPR has updated its dashboards guidance, and is considering what, if any, changes need to be made to its compliance and enforcement policy, which was consulted on in November 2022.
PASA published new good practice guidance on providing value data to pensions dashboards on 8 June 2023. The guidance covers 20 topics, including possible approaches for dealing with issues such as late retirements, underpins, split administration and AVCs (see 7 Days for background).
Further dashboards guidance is expected from PASA, including a “master project plan” to help service providers work with schemes to prepare, and guidance on what being “connection ready” means in practice.
- trustees should ensure their default pre-retirement strategy is targeting the “right outcome” and is fit for purpose in the current market environment
- TPR is particularly concerned that signs of recovery may not be fully reflected in annual benefit statements sent to members in the coming months. It is, therefore, “vital” that trustees provide more up-to-date context in annual statements and useful “supporting materials” to “guard against the risks of savers making knee-jerk decisions”, particularly those who are approaching retirement
- TPR also expects trustees to signpost members to sources of appropriate financial advice and guidance in their benefit statements.
TPR has updated its monetary penalties policy to set out its approach to calculating the penalty for failing to comply with the climate change governance and reporting requirements, and to reflect penalties that apply to master trusts.
It has also made a small update to its guidance on value for DC scheme members, to clarify that the existence of an active member discount needs to be checked at an individual (rather than cohort) level, and that this is an ongoing obligation.
On 6 June 2023, the PLSA published a paper on supporting pension investment in UK growth, identifying “opportunities to encourage all types of pension fund to invest further in UK growth”. Possible initiatives include:
- encouraging the asset management industry to focus on sourcing UK opportunities and developing new investment funds and products (such as Long-term Asset Funds) appropriate to pension fund needs
- increasing the flow of DC contributions by increasing automatic enrolment minimum contribution levels, as well as proceeding with the intended reforms to abolish the lower earnings limit for contributions and reduce the age for being automatically enrolled (see 7 Days)
- setting out a clear plan for the future of the UK economy, for example on the shift towards sustainable economic growth (the “green transition”).
The PLSA is “working closely with Government” on these issues.
On 5 June 2023, TPO announced that it is investigating a cyber incident. As a precautionary measure, some systems including application forms and LiveChat have been disabled. Alternative TPO contact details are available here. TPO intends to share more information once available.