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

FCA publishes video on DB pension transfer advice

The FCA has published a video and transcript designed to help consumers “better understand financial advice on transferring out of a [DB] pension”. These are aimed at both those who have transferred out and are unclear whether they received good quality advice, and those considering transferring.

The video outlines the process that financial advisers should follow when providing transfer advice, and highlights the key information that savers should be provided with and the questions that they should ask.

GMP equalisation update

The High Court’s October 2018 decision in Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Ltd v Lloyds Bank plc held that pension benefits had to be equalised for the effect of GMPs, but left other questions on the subject unanswered.

A statement released by the Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Limited now confirms that a follow-up court hearing, “on the question of past transfers-out”, will take place at the end of April / beginning of May 2020.

The trustees are seeking guidance on the extent of their obligation to revisit past transfers out of the Lloyds schemes. This question had formed part of the original application, but the Court had not ruled on it.

The statement also confirms that the Lloyds trustees are currently working to implement the Court’s original decision on equalisation, and hope “to be in a position to start communicating with individual members about the implementation in the summer of 2020”.

DWP publishes tailored review of the Pensions Ombudsman

On 27 August 2019, the DWP published a report of its tailored review of TPO. The review was undertaken to make sure that TPO “remains fit for purpose, well governed and properly accountable for its actions”.

The review found that TPO is “a well-respected and effective organisation”, but makes various recommendations, including that:

  • TPO builds its relationship with the FOS, and develops a collaborative process to reduce the potential for customer confusion and duplication of efforts
  • the DWP provides “greater support and challenge” to TPO
  • TPO evolves a full board structure in line with Cabinet Office principles for effective and proportionate governance, including Non-Executive Directors and a Chief Operating Officer
  • TPO should work to clarify externally what cases are appropriate for resolution by the Early Resolution Team, and should provide assurance that Early Resolution cases are handled independently from other sections of the organisation
  • TPO agrees a timetable and resourcing to fully refresh the information and tools available on its website.

TPR publishes compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin

TPR published the latest edition of its quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin on 22 August 2019, covering information on its cases and on how it had used its powers between April and June this year across all scheme types.

Alongside the bulletin, TPR released a blog post on how TPR is “living and breathing” its “clearer, quicker and tougher” mantra (drawing parallels with other famous three word phrases, including Julius Caesar’s supposed “Veni, Vidi, Vici”). Amongst other things, the publications note recent record automatic enrolment fines imposed on an employer.