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

The Pension Schemes Bill returns

The Pension Schemes Bill was introduced to Parliament for its first reading on 7 January 2020 (see our Alert). The Bill is in substantially the same form as the version published in October (see our Alert), which fell when Parliament was dissolved for the general election.

Key aspects of the Bill include the introduction of new powers for TPR, designed to enable it to fulfil its mantra of being “clearer, quicker, and tougher”, and provisions laying the groundwork for “collective money purchase benefits” (also known as “collective defined contribution” or “CDC”) and pensions dashboards.

On 13 January 2020, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on the framework in the Bill for CDC schemes. The paper describes CDC schemes, “how these schemes may differ from existing pension schemes and how the Government arrived at its decision to introduce legislation to enable these schemes to be set up”.

New legislation published

The State Pension Debits and Credits (Revaluation) Order 2020 and State Pension Revaluation for Transitional Pensions Order 2020 were laid before Parliament on 7 January 2020. These instruments revalue certain components that may form part of an award of new State Pension for persons reaching State Pension Age on or after 7 April 2020.

Budget day announced

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has announced that the next Budget (postponed in 2019 owing to the general election) will take place on 11 March 2020. The Budget is likely to “address the ‘taper problem’ in doctors’ pensions” (referring to the tapered annual allowance), which was promised in the Conservative manifesto.

Guidance on money laundering requirements

On 10 January 2020, Companies House released guidance on how to tell them if the information an “obliged entity” holds about a beneficial owner is different from the information held on the People with Significant Control (PSC) register (see our Alert). This follows on from the Fifth Anti Money Laundering Directive coming into force through the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019, as the Directive requires the notification of any such discrepancy.

Separately, HMRC published a policy paper on 10 January 2020 in reference to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which notes that it will update its guidance “shortly to reflect the new regulations”.

FCA podcast on regulating the changing pensions landscape

The FCA released a podcast on 7 January 2020 examining the key issues in the pensions sector from regulatory trade and consumer perspectives. It discusses views on pensions freedoms, DB transfers and the role of financial advisers, scams, the biggest challenges for regulating pensions and how the FCA is working to improve the quality of pensions transfer advice.

Countdown Bulletin 50 – December 2019

On 9 January 2020, HMRC issued Countdown Bulletin 50, which has updates on automatically allocating payments received from pension schemes in respect of GMP rectification for individual members of their scheme. The Bulletin states that “HMRC will be publishing details shortly on the process all schemes will need to follow”.

TPR annual report on the DB pensions landscape

TPR has published its annual report on the DB pension schemes it regulates. The report provides statistics including the percentage of DB schemes open to new members, the number of active members, funding levels and indexation methods being used.