Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

29 April 2019

New PPF guidance: Contingency planning for employer insolvency

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has published a new guide, ‘Contingency planning for employer insolvency’, to help trustees who think their employer's in trouble and there’s a risk their scheme could enter the PPF’s assessment period.

The PPF is also hosting an event for trustees and scheme advisers in central London on the morning of Tuesday, 14 May. 

TPR warning on compliant Chairs Statements

Following the fining of two schemes for failing to include required information in their annual statements, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has warned other schemes that they must produce a chair’s statement that complies with the law. Although the schemes appealed TPR’s decisions to the First-Tier Tribunal, in both cases, the judges decreed that the failure of the trustees to include required information necessitated penalties for non-compliance.

In one of the cases, judge David Hunter QC ruled that the chair's statement for 2015/16 was “deficient in five respects” – 

  1. The latest Default Statement of Investment Principles (SIP) was not included in the Chair’s Statement; the Chair’s Statement included only a summary and a reference to another document.
  2. The Chair’s Statement did not contain the date of the last review of the default strategy and the performance of the default arrangement; that is the date it was completed and signed off.
  3. The Chair’s Statement did not adequately describe how the requirements of sections 247 and 248 of the 2004 Act (requirements for trustee knowledge and understanding) had been met; in particular, it was not sufficient to refer in the most general and broad terms to the Trustee toolkit, training and “working with our professional advisers to fill in any gaps”.
  4. The Chair’s Statement fell short of the necessary compliance in respect of how the requirements of regulation 27(2) (majority of trustees and chair to be non-affiliated) had been met during the year.
  5. The Chair’s Statement did not include details of the arrangements in place during the year to meet the requirement of regulation 29 (representation of the views of members to the trustees or managers); according to the Tribunal: the ability to raise queries with a call centre, the offer of interactive messaging, and the (future) provision of a portal to allow access to information, clearly fall short of “arrangements to encourage members to make their views known.”

Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) (Amendment) Order 2019

Under this Order, SI 2019/879, amendments are made to the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010 to enable some occupational pension schemes which pay a reduced rate pension to take account of the state pension the member receives when they reach state pension age (currently between 60 and 65) to continue doing this in line with increases to the state pension age (rising to 68) in England, Scotland and Wales. The Order will come into force on 15 May 2019.

Tackling intergenerational unfairness 

In this report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision, a number of measures are proposed that could impact workplace and State pensions –

  • In relation to GIG economy, there should be an assumption of worker status by default (which would increase those in scope for auto-enrolment)
  • If ‘midlife MoTs’, recommended in the Cridland report, are to be introduced effectively, the Government needs to give a good deal more thought to how they should operate.
  • The triple lock for the State Pension should be removed. The State Pension should be uprated in line with average earnings to ensure parity with working people. However, there should be protection against any unusually high periods of inflation in the future. 
 

Contact:

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