Sackers webinar survey demonstrates need for greater clarity of governance boundaries

Sackers announces the results of their most recent webinar survey. With a new single code in the offing, this showed that the governance concern currently vexing the majority of respondents (59%) was the lack of clarity between what is a legal obligation, a TPR expectation, or simply a ‘nice to have’.

Partner, Helen Baker commented: “In bringing 10 of its 15 existing codes under one roof, TPR’s aim is to create a clearer, more accessible single code of practice. The code is intended to be user-friendly and to make it easier for trustees, and those advising them, to distinguish between a legal obligation on the one hand and a TPR expectation on the other.”

“By adopting government communication principles in its use of language to distinguish between legal duties (‘must’), and TPR’s expectations (‘should’), TPR is clearly taking steps to achieve this. But ‘need’ is also used where there is neither a legal obligation nor an expectation as such, and this is causing concern. As our survey has shown, end users are desperately seeking greater clarity as to what is a legal obligation, a TPR expectation, or simply a ‘nice to have’, as this is key to understanding what is actually required. We very much hope that TPR will bear this in mind when crafting the final code.”

Baker concluded: “TPR plans to carry out a series of engagement activities with more details about the new code, providing the industry with the opportunity to share its views. Given the complexity involved in assembling so many codes under one roof, we recommend trustees proactively engage with TPR on all aspects of the new code so as to help ensure that it is as workable as possible when it eventually comes into force later this year.”

* Based on 68 respondents representing trustees and employers of both DB and DC schemes.