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
- TPR publishes blog on preparing for pensions dashboards
- TPR publishes speech on its key priorities
- DWP’s Taskforce on Social Factors (“TSF”) publishes guide for consultation
- WPC publishes correspondence with the PRA on DB superfunds
- PLSA publishes “Made Simple” guide on buy-ins and buy-outs
On 18 October 2023, TPR published a blog on the “significant work schemes can do now” to prepare for pensions dashboards while they wait for their target connection dates. TPR refers trustees to its dashboards preparation checklist, which has been republished with minor updates, intended to help trustees understand which actions they should already be working on and to record progress.
The DWP and MaPS are expected to provide guidance on a revised staging timetable following the “reset” of the pensions dashboards programme, but no timing has been given on when this will be published.
On 19 October 2023, TPR published a speech given by Nausicaa Delfas, the Chief Executive of TPR, at the PLSA annual conference. The speech discusses three focus areas for TPR in the context of the changing pensions landscape:
- protecting savers’ money by making sure trustees and employers comply with their duties
- enhancing the system through effective market oversight, with a focus on “quality of trusteeship”, and
- supporting innovation in savers’ interests, so that new products and services deliver good outcomes.
TPR is working with the DWP to consider how best to “improve quality of governance across all trustee boards”, and its focus will be on “taking regulatory action to help drive consolidation in savers’ interests”. It expects to publish details of the action it is taking as part of this initiative “shortly”.
On 19 October 2023, the TSF published a consultation on a draft guide on incorporating social factors into investment and stewardship decision-making. The TSF was launched following the DWP’s response to its March 2021 call for evidence on how schemes approach social risks and opportunities, intended to help support trustees and the wider pensions industry with managing social factors. The guide makes recommendations for different stakeholders in the pensions sector, including that pension schemes should “ensure their asset managers consider social factors and integrate them into their investment strategy and stewardship”. It also provides example mandate terms and questions to help monitor advisers.
The consultation closes on 1 December 2023.
In a letter published on 18 October 2023, the PRA responded to questions raised by the WPC concerning the PRA’s view of DB superfunds. The response notes that the PRA would need to develop an approach to regulation and supervision of any insurance groups which were to operate both annuity business and DB superfunds, so as to “preserve the level of protection” for insurance policyholders. The PRA has “contributed its expertise” as the Government continues to develop its DB superfunds policy.
On 17 October 2023, the PLSA published new guides in its “Made Simple” series, including a guide on buy-ins and buy-outs. The guide includes information on why trustees might consider a buy-in or buy-out, the crucial elements of each transaction, the implications for investment strategies and tips for communicating with members.