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

Finance Bill 2019: Royal Assent

The Finance Bill 2019 (referred to in Parliament as the Finance (No.3) Bill 2017-19) received Royal Assent on 12 February 2019, becoming the Finance Act 2019.

The Act contains provisions (first announced in the Autumn Budget 2017) to widen the tax relief on premiums paid by employers into life assurance products, and contributions to qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (“QROPS”), to allow named beneficiaries to be any individual or a registered charity. Currently, premiums only attract tax relief if the named beneficiary is an employee or a member of their family or household.

The provisions take effect from 6 April 2019.

CMA publishes draft Investment Consultancy and Fiduciary Management Market Investigation Order

On 11 February 2019, the CMA published its draft Investment Consultancy and Fiduciary Management Market Investigation Order 2019, alongside a draft explanatory note and Notice of intention to make an order.

The order is the means by which the CMA will implement the remedies set out in its final report on the investment consultancy market, following its 2018 investigation. The statutory deadline for implementing remedial action is 11 June 2019.

The consultation closes at 10am on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

HMRC publishes Countdown Bulletin issue 42

On 11 February 2019, HMRC published issue 42 of its “Countdown Bulletin”, which provides information for schemes following the ending of DB contracting-out.

The latest edition of the bulletin includes “important information” and dates in relation to scheme financial reconciliation.

TPR publishes latest compliance report

TPR’s latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin, published on 14 February 2019, shows that over 10 million eligible jobholders have now been automatically enrolled. A blog written by TPR’s Director of Automatic Enrolment, Darren Ryder, celebrates reaching the milestone, and discusses how the success may be continued.

The accompanying press release notes the compliance report’s figures that highlight “the wide ranging action TPR is taking to protect savers and ensure staff receive the pensions they are entitled to”.

Pan-European Personal Pension update

On 13 February 2019, the Council of the EU’s Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) announced that it had agreed its position on the proposed Pan-European Personal Pension Product (“PEPP”) Regulation.

The European Parliament is due to consider the proposed Regulation at a plenary session on 3/4 April 2019, following provisional agreement between the European Commission, Parliament and Council in December 2018.

EIOPA, which provided advice to the European Commission in creating the proposal for a draft regulation on PEPPs, welcomed the agreement.

A letter from the Department for Exiting the European Union (“DExEU”) on 12 February 2019 explains that the PEPP Regulation is likely to enter into force during any implementation period agreed following the UK’s exit from the EU. As the PEPP Regulation does not allow third country firms to offer PEPPs, it is unlikely that UK consumers would be eligible for PEPPs once the implementation period has ended.

PPF publishes further update on post-Hampshire approach

On 14 February 2019, the PPF published an update to its plans for implementing the effects of the ruling by the CJEU in the case of Grenville Hampshire v the Board of the Pension Protection Fund (September 2018).

The PPF had published a high level explanation in November 2018 of the interim approach it was taking to ensure that PPF and FAS compensation is paid in line with the judgment, and a further update in December 2018.

The latest update notes that “new court proceedings have started” against the PPF, seeking to challenge, among other things, its intended approach for calculating any increases due to those in receipt of PPF compensation as a result of the ruling. It confirms that the PPF will continue with its plans to pay increases to affected individuals, but that it will limit the size of arrears payments “currently… to avoid the risk of having to recover overpayments from members should the court decide we must take a different approach to calculating the increase.” The PPF will keep its “approach to implementation under review in the light of how the proceedings develop.”

The PPF also published an FAQs document setting out its approach to assist with members’ questions.