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

CMA publishes Working Paper on trustee engagement

The Competition and Markets Authority (“the CMA”) has published a further working paper entitled “Investment Consultants Market Investigation – Working paper: trustee engagement“, as part of its investigation into investment consultancy.

The paper follows on from the earlier paper on information on fees and quality, and sets out the CMA’s initial analysis of trustee engagement with investment consultancy and fiduciary management. It considers the extent to which trustees are able to assess the value for money of alternative providers and, where necessary, to act on the outcome of that assessment.

Comments on the working paper should be submitted by 26 April 2018.

FCA regulated fees and levies 2018/19 – consultation

On 9 April 2018, the FCA published a consultation on its proposed regulated fee and levy rates for 2018/19. This covers the fees and levies for the FCA, FOS, MAS and Pension Wise, and considers the funding of the new Single Financial Guidance Body.

Any comments should be submitted by 1 June 2018. A policy statement and final rules will be published in July 2018.

HMRC issues update on new service to manage and register pension schemes

On 12 April 2018, HMRC published guidance on the “Manage and Register Pension Schemes service”. The newsletter updates stakeholders on the service which has been flagged in previous Pension Scheme Newsletters. The service will:

  • provide a new digital platform for schemes to be managed and registered
  • provide a digital account for all pension schemes and reporting
  • issue all HMRC notifications regarding registration
  • hold details of existing pension schemes, pension scheme administrators and pension practitioners following migration from the existing Pension Schemes Online service.

The service is to be rolled out in two phases:

  • the first features will be released from 8 May 2018 (“Phase One”), and new schemes will be able to be registered using the service from this date
  • “Phase Two” starts from April 2019, and will allow scheme reporting and new practitioner registration, alongside the full management and registration of schemes.

HMRC publishes Countdown Bulletin issue 33

On 16 April 2018, HMRC published issue 33 of its “Countdown Bulletin”, which provides important information for schemes following the ending of DB contracting-out.

This latest edition of the bulletin includes information on individuals with multiple periods of membership within the same scheme, and on the progress of the Scheme Reconciliation Service.

Survivors’ benefits in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme following Walker v Innospec

The Department for Education has confirmed plans to equalise survivor benefits for same-sex couples in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The changes follow the 2017 Supreme Court ruling in Walker v Innospec which held that surviving civil partners / same-sex spouses should be entitled to benefits in line with those for opposite-sex married couples.

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme state that the changes follow “the Government’s consideration of the implications for public service pension scheme”, and will apply retrospectively, from the date civil partnerships and same-sex marriages were implemented (5 December 2005 and 13 March 2014 respectively).

Teachers’ Pensions confirm that it is working in conjunction with the Department for Education to implement the changes, and will provide further details on its approach and the timescales in due course.

A Q&A document was issued alongside the statement.

TPR publishes guidance on “Cyber security principles for pension schemes”

TPR has published new regulatory guidance for trustees on cyber security principles for pension schemes.

The guidance notes that trustees and scheme managers need to take steps to protect members and assets against “cyber risk”. It defines “cyber risk” broadly, as “the risk of loss, disruption or damage to a scheme or its members as a result of the failure of its information technology systems and processes [… including] risks to information (data security) as well as assets, and both internal risks (eg from staff) and external risks (eg hacking).”

The guidance advises that schemes of all sizes should take steps to build cyber resilience – the ability to assess and minimise the risk of a cyber incident occurring, but also to recover when an incident takes place. It suggests schemes should work with all relevant parties (including in-house functions, third party service providers and employers) to define their approach to managing this risk.

The guide sets out good practice for all schemes, which may be adopted proportionately to the profile of a particular scheme.

Automatic enrolment: TPR updates employer guidance

TPR has issued an updated version of its automatic enrolment detailed guidance for employers. Minor amendments have been made to several sections of the guidance, largely to include information on the statutory increases to the minimum contribution entitlement for DC schemes from 6 April 2018 and 6 April 2019, and to reference the updated qualifying earnings thresholds for the 2018/2019 tax year.

TPR has also published its most recent declaration of compliance report, with 1,166,156 employers confirming that they have now met their duties in relation to automatic enrolment.

WPC launches inquiry into White Paper proposals

On 11 April 2018, the Work and Pensions Select Committee announced an inquiry into the Government’s recent DB White Paper.

The WPC states that the inquiry “aims to inform and influence the planned consultation on the White Paper’s various proposals”, and invites evidence both in relation to specific proposals and whether a faster legislative timetable is warranted. The deadline for submissions is 18 May 2018.