Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

13 May 2019

Pension Charges Bill

This Private Members' Bill, to require pension providers to publish standardised information on charges for pension products and to make provision for a cap on such charges, has received its first reading in Parliament.

£103k fine for corporate professional trustee’s multiple failings 

A corporate professional trustee firm has been fined £103,750 for breaching multiple areas of pension law. The penalty against Link Pension Trustees Limited in relation to failings on the McDonald's Franchisee Pension Scheme is the largest fine handed to trustees by The Pensions Regulator (TPR). The scheme provides pensions for 32 franchisees of the fast food chain but is independent of McDonald's.

Link Pension Trustees Limited was fined £73,750 by TPR’s independent Determinations Panel (DP) for: failing to obtain audited accounts for the scheme for four consecutive years; failing to provide members with Statutory Money Purchase Illustrations (SMPI) for two consecutive years; and failing to report those six breaches of law to TPR.

In separate action arising from the same investigation the trustee of the master trust scheme was also fined £30,000 by TPR for failing to have at least three trustees on a master trust board.

The breaches were identified through TPR’s engagement with all master trust schemes in preparation for authorisation and supervision. It is the first time TPR has used enforcement powers for: failure to provide members with SMPIs; failure to report breaches of law to TPR; and failure to have three trustees on a master trust.

The trustee has resolved the breaches, paid the penalty and the scheme has triggered its exit from the master trust market.

Local Government Pension Scheme (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2019

These regulations (SSI 2019/161) provide that the entitlement to retire after reaching the age of 55 also applies to deferred pension members and change the requirements for cohabiting partner pensions in the scheme. They also correct inaccurate references and ensure that the provisions in the Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions and Savings) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 continue to have effect in the 2018 scheme.

Separately, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published a consultation seeking views on policy proposals to amend the rules of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales. The consultation includes proposed amendments to the local fund valuations from the current triennial to a quadrennial cycle. 

How to fix pension tax problems with the NHS pension scheme

Royal London has published a policy paper which looks at the issues surrounding pension tax relief and the NHS pension scheme, and reviewing the various solutions that are available. The paper highlights that the tapering of the annual allowance does not only affect doctors but also has implications for the self-employed and anyone else whose annual income is unpredictable. The paper concludes that reform of the tapered annual allowance would not go far enough and proposes outright abolition.

New funding regime: TPR hints at direction of travel 

In a recent blog, the Pensions Regulator looks at the direction of travel in respect of the future of the funding regime for defined benefit pension schemes. It indicates there will not be Minimum Funding Requirement (MFR) V2.0. 

Contact:

John W. Wilson LLB(Hons) FPMI ACII, Head of Research| Email: john_wilson@jltgroup.com