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

TPR publishes results of its trustee diversity and inclusion survey

On 19 March 2024, TPR published the results of its diversity and inclusion survey carried out in 2023. There was broad consensus that diverse and inclusive pension boards are important for good decision making (84%), good governance (83%) and good member outcomes (85%). The survey highlighted “the lack of trustee diversity in terms of protected or visible characteristics such as ethnicity” although most trustee boards were seen as diverse in other ways such as skills, life experience and professional background. Trustees are encouraged to use TPR’s recent guidance for practical ways to improve board diversity and inclusion.

TPR explains how it intends to use disclosure data

TPR published a blog on 21 March 2024, arguing that “challenge and disclosure must become the norm if savers are to get value from their pensions”. TPR expects to increasingly use disclosure of value for money, including the proposed VFM framework, and other data to “constructively challenge” trustee decision-making so that savers’ interests are “really being met”.

ICO publishes new fining guidance

The ICO published new data protection fining guidance on 18 March 2024. The guidance sets out:

  • the factors the ICO will take into account when deciding to issue a penalty notice
  • the methodology used to calculate any fine
  • the legal framework that gives the ICO the power to impose fines.

This follows a consultation on a draft version of the guidance. Responses to the consultation were generally positive, but the ICO has made some changes as a result of the feedback received. This includes adding additional explanation to clarify the ICO’s approach in circumstances where more than one breach arises from the “same or linked” conduct, and evidence the ICO is likely to consider when assessing whether a breach has been committed intentionally or negligently.

PLSA updates made simple guide to own risk assessments

The PLSA has updated its July 2022 “made simple” guide to own risk assessments (“ORAs”) to reflect the final version of the general code of practice which is expected to come into force on 27 March 2024. The guide is intended to help trustees meet TPR’s expectations by explaining the new ORA requirements and offering practical advice for compliance.

PDP publishes blog on recent dashboards queries

The PDP published a blog on 19 March 2024 on recent questions about pensions dashboards. The questions cover:

  • the timeframe for returning value data triggered by a successful find request
  • demonstrating user consent to their view data being provided to the dashboard
  • who is responsible for making AVC data available to members on dashboards.

Additional funding allocated to reduce TPO waiting times

In response to a written question, the Pensions Minister, Paul Maynard, has confirmed that the DWP has provided additional financial support to TPO to reduce the length of time it takes to deal with cases. £1,050,000 has been allocated for 2024/25 “specifically for casework activities to reduce waiting times”.

FCA asks firms to review processes to improve retirement income advice

On 20 March 2024, the FCA published a press release explaining it has written to financial advice firms asking them to review their processes when providing retirement income advice and identify what improvements could be made. This follows the FCA’s thematic review of retirement income advice, which found some examples where firms were not taking account of the needs of their customers. Most of the advice files the FCA reviewed showed advice provided was suitable, but in a small number of instances recommendations led to customers losing guarantees or incurring unnecessary charges.