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

Response to insolvency and corporate governance consultation published

On 26 August 2018, BEIS published the Government’s response to the consultation on measures designed to improve corporate governance within companies which are in or are approaching insolvency.

An accompanying announcement confirms that directors “who have dissolved companies to avoid paying workers or pensions could be disqualified or fined by authorities for the first time”.

The proposed measures aim to “tackle reckless directors and better protect pensions, small suppliers and workers who lose out when companies go bust”. Following last year’s corporate governance reforms, the Government has said that it “will raise standards further”, by, amongst other measures, requiring that bosses “explain to shareholders how the company can afford to pay dividends and financial commitments such as investments and pension schemes”. The Government has however agreed with respondents’ views that there should be no automatic bar on companies paying dividends where their pension scheme is in deficit.

Further consultation will be carried out “where necessary”.

Deadline reminder for GMP reconciliation queries

The deadline for submitting queries to HMRC’s Scheme Reconciliation Service (“SRS”), which helps pension schemes reconcile their membership and GMP data against the records held by HMRC, is 31 October 2018.

HMRC aims to respond within three months from when it starts work on a query and estimates that the final SRS queries will be answered by “early 2019”.

If you require advice in relation to GMP reconciliation and rectification, please speak to your usual Sackers contact.

HMRC Pension Schemes Newsletter 102 published

HMRC published Pension Schemes Newsletter 102 on 30 August 2018.

Among other things, it includes information on the “Manage and Register Pension Schemes” service; relief at source; master trust registration, authorisation and reporting; reporting of non-taxable death benefits; and, applications to register pension schemes.

Where existing pension schemes become master trusts after 1 October 2018, they are reminded that they must inform HMRC of this within 30 days (using form APSS578), as well as applying for authorisation from TPR.

Briefing paper published

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper looking at the requirement to take advice for pension scheme members seeking to transfer or convert safeguarded benefits worth more than £30,000 into flexible benefits.

TPR continues to roll out 21st Century Trusteeship campaign

TPR has released further guidance in its 21st Century Trusteeship campaign to protect workplace pension savers by driving up the standards of governance across pension schemes.

The latest instalment looks at value for members, and reminds trustees of both DC and DB schemes that “making sure your scheme members are receiving value for money is fundamental to being a good 21st Century trustee”.

This comes ahead of the awaited report on TPR’s findings of its review into value for member assessments in DC schemes.

The Estate of the late Mr R (TPO)

TPO has upheld a complaint by a widow, brought in her capacity as an executor of a deceased scheme member’s estate, that the scheme had failed to inform her husband, during his terminal illness, that the benefits payable from the scheme following his death would be considerably lower if he did not draw benefits during his lifetime.

Please see our case report for further detail.