Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

14 July 2019

DWP response to survivors pension review

In a written statement made on 4 July 2019, Guy Opperman MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Inclusion) has confirmed that, following the Supreme Court's decision in Walker v Innospec Ltd and others [2017], it is now clear that same-sex civil partners and spouses are entitled to survivor benefits in the same way as opposite-sex spouses and that public service pension schemes will consult on and implement the necessary changes.

The statement also contains the government's response to its June 2014 survivor benefits review. Following the review, the Supreme Court ruled in Walker that the Equality Act exception was incompatible with the Equal Treatment Framework Directive.

The government has decided that, in public service schemes, surviving male same-sex and female same-sex spouses and civil partners will, in the majority of cases, receive benefits equivalent to those received by widows of opposite-sex marriages. The government states that private sector schemes will need to take their own advice to ensure that they are legally compliant with the judgment but that any action taken by the government in respect of public service pension schemes should not be interpreted as the minimum requirement for private pension schemes.

The statement also confirms that the government will not be making further retrospective changes to existing provisions to equalise survivor benefits. 

PPI updates UK pension system guide

The Pensions Policy Institute has updated its Pensions Primer, a guide to the UK pensions system covering State and private pensions. This iteration reflects the UK pension system as at June 2019.

PASA DB transfers guidance published

PASA has announced the publication of its defined benefit (DB) transfers guidance. The guidance aims to create a framework that balances member protection with an individual's statutory right to take their pension via a flexible arrangement. The guidance seeks to improve member experience through faster, safer transfers; improve efficiency for administrators; and to improve communications and transparency in the processing of transfers. 

Latest A-E declaration of compliance report

The Pensions Regulator has published its monthly report on automatic enrolment, which sets out information based on data submitted by employers. According to the report, 1,521,677 employers confirmed that they had met their duties by completing their declaration of compliance between July 2012 and the end of June 2019. 10,107,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled.

NEST report and accounts 2018-19

The National Employment Savings Trust Corporation annual report and accounts 2018 to 2019 has been published. The report shows that, earlier this year, the NEST pension scheme had 7.9 million members and £5.7bn assets under management, compared to the start of 2013/14 when it had 80,000 members and £3.8m in assets.

TPAS annual report and accounts 2018-19

The Pensions Advisory Service annual report and accounts for 2018 to 2019 has been published and includes the service’s activities and finances for the year ending 31 March 2019.

Finance Bill 2019-20

The draft Finance Bill 2019-20 was published on 11 July.
No pensions-related legislation is included in the Bill.
No date has yet been set for the Autumn Budget.

Public Service pensions: Governance and administration survey

The Pensions Regulator published its public service governance and administration survey 2018

The Pensions Regulator has published the results of its fourth annual governance and administration survey of public service pension schemes. The main risks for public service schemes relate to governance, record keeping, and member communications. Cyber security has also been identified as a significant issue.

Contact:

Julian Rowe | Policy, Professionalism & Research | email: Julian.Rowe@MERCER.com