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

Queen’s Speech 2022 sets out government’s legislative plans

The Queen’s Speech 2022, delivered on 10 May 2022, set out the government’s legislative plans for the next parliamentary session. The speech did not announce any new pensions-specific legislation but did propose legislation which may have pensions implications. This includes:

  • a Data Reform Bill, which has the aim of simplifying the UK’s data protection regime and making it more outcomes-focused. The Bill is also intended to create cost savings for businesses and to clarify how personal data can be used
  • a Boycotts, Disinvestment and Sanctions Bill, which will include further measures to ensure that public bodies conduct investment activities in line with official government measures on policy and sanctions. This follows the introduction of an express power in the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 allowing the Secretary of State to give guidance or direction on investment decisions which it considers is not proper for public service pension scheme managers to make in light of UK foreign and defence policy
  • an Online Safety Bill, introduced in the last parliamentary session, which will include measures affecting large social media platforms and search engines to prevent online fraud and scams such as pension scams, and
  • a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will include additional protections for those investing or using financial products, with the intention of making investing safer for the public and to support the victims of scams.

TPR updates template pension scams letter

On 10 May 2022, TPR published an updated version of the letter signed by TPR, the FCA and MaPS, which TPR expects trustees to include in their response to any member request for a CETV of their DB benefits. The updated letter removes references to the coronavirus outbreak and related financial uncertainty that were included in the original May 2020 version, and adds a clearer statement that “It’s in most people’s best interests to keep their [DB] pension”. Schemes should ensure they use this updated letter in their transfer documentation.

PASA publishes Cybercrime Protection checklist

On 16 May 2022, PASA published a checklist of steps administrators can take to assess their defences against cybercrime. The steps cover four key areas, including compliance with legal and regulatory standards and understanding the organisation’s specific vulnerabilities to cybercrime.

PDP publishes blog on consumer protection aspects of pensions dashboards

The recent PDP blog, published on 11 May 2022, explains that it is responsible for the security of data within the dashboards central digital architecture, which is being built in line with a range of best practice technical and security standards. The PDP is also liable for the accuracy of assurances that users are who they say they are. Duties of pension providers and schemes will be set out in the DWP regulations on dashboards, which are expected “over the coming months” (see our Alert for more details).

WPC call for evidence from employers and trade unions on saving for later life

The WPC is accepting evidence in the latest stage of its inquiry “Protecting pension savers – five years on from the pension freedoms: Saving for later life”. This follows responses to its initial call for evidence published earlier this year (see 7 Days). The WPC is seeking a second round of input on topics such as:

  • when and how the government should implement recommendations that automatic enrolment (AE) contributions are paid on earnings from the first pound, and to reduce the minimum age for AE from 21 to 18, and
  • whether minimum AE contribution rates need to increase.

This call for evidence is targeted specifically at employers and their representatives and trade unions. The deadline for submissions is 8 June 2022.

FRC issues call for feedback on Technical Actuarial Standards

On 13 May 2022, the FRC issued a call for feedback on its Technical Actuarial Standards (TASs) which were last revised in 2016. The FCA is reviewing the TASs to ensure they “continue to support the delivery of high quality technical actuarial work” and to ensure that the “Reliability Objective” continues to be satisfied (ie users can place a high degree of reliance on actuarial information). The call for feedback closes on 8 July 2022.

Moan v HMRC (First-tier Tribunal) – 4 April 2022

The First-tier Tribunal has upheld an appeal against the loss of FP16 following an individual being auto-enrolled into his new employer’s pension scheme. In reaching its decision, the Tribunal considered the employer’s duties to provide employees with information about AE, and the time limits for opting out of AE.

This case concerned very specific facts in relation to loss of FP16, but is a helpful summary of some of the employer requirements to provide information about AE to jobholders. As the judge commented, the AE regime is “highly prescriptive” and employers should be aware of the strict timeframes for providing information and the consequences of failing to comply, particularly in relation to postponement periods. See our case summary for more detail.