Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

30 September 2019

PPF Levy 2020/21

The Pension Protection Fund has published the 2020/21 Pension Protection Levy Consultation Document.

The PPF estimates that, as a result of applying unchanged rules for next year, it will collect £620 million in 2020/21 – an increase on the £575 million expected to be collected in the 2019/20 levy year (i.e. a rise of 8 percent on average, relative to bills this year). This rise reflects expected increases in scheme risks.

The PPF has also published a Policy Document – How Recent Court Judgments Impact s179 Valuations.

Pensions in the public sector finances

The Office for National Statistics has published a methodological overview of the implementation of public sector pension schemes in the Public Sector Finances bulletin. The Bulletin can be downloaded here.

MAPS Steering Group announced

The Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) has announced the appointment of ten members to the Pensions Dashboard Steering Group, which will represent the interests of consumers and stakeholders in the pensions industry and support the work of the Industry Delivery Group. The members are:

  • Andrew Lowe, Change and Data Solutions Director at the Institute for Faculty of Actuaries;
  • Dominic Lindley, as an independent;
  • Francis Goss, Chief Commercial Officer at AHC;
  • Kim Gubler, Chair of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA);
  • Nigel Peaple, Director of Policy and Research at the PLSA;
  • Paddy Greene, Head of Money and Consumer Rights Policy at Which?;
  • Romi Savova, Chief Executive Officer at PensionBee;
  • Samantha Seaton, Chief Executive Officer at Moneyhub;
  • Will Lovegrove, as an independent; and
  • Yvonne Braun, Director of Policy, Long-term Savings and Protection at the ABI.

FCA Retirement Income Market Data 2018/19

The FCA has published Retirement Income Market Data. The latest research reveals how consumers accessed their pensions from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. According to the data, just over 645,000 pension plans were accessed to buy an annuity, move into drawdown or take a first cash withdrawal in 2018/19.

NEST A-E analysis

Nest Insight and Vanguard have published a supplement to How the UK Saves, focusing on gender differences in retirement savings behaviour. The analysis examines the Nest membership of 8 million savers, who make up a quarter of the UK’s working population, to gain in-depth insights into the root cause of the gender pensions gap.

This latest round of study observed that after controlling for the pattern of contributions as well as earnings, the difference between men’s and women’s pension savings falls away. Equal numbers of men and women were also found to have made additional contributions to their pension pot. This new research indicates that there are no differences in the savings behaviours of men and women, instead structural factors in the UK labour market, such as earnings, gender concentration in certain sectors, and job turnover, are the driving force behind the disparity. Indeed, the analysis also revealed that women saving in Nest are three times more likely than men to be under the auto enrolment eligibility threshold of £10,000 per annum.

HMRC updates pension statistics

HMRC has updated the following statistics to include latest figures for September 2019:
  • Personal pensions, retirement annuity contracts and free standing additional voluntary contributions;
  • Personal pensions (including stakeholder pensions) scheme members' annual contributions;
  • Registered pension schemes cost of tax relief;
  • Personal pensions annual allowance statistics;
  • Personal pensions lifetime allowance statistics;
  • Registered Pension Schemes cost of tax relief. 

HMRC has also updated its commentary for the September 2019 statistics and has added separate background and methodology documents.

Brexit update

In a unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court concluded that the question of the lawfulness of the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament was justiciable, and in this case the decision to advise the Queen prorogue Parliament was unlawful as it had the effect of frustrating/preventing Parliament’s ability to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. On this basis the prorogation was void and of no effect.

MPs have now returned to the House of Commons and have voted by 306 to 289 against the Government's motion calling for a three-day parliamentary recess. The break was to coincide with the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

HMRC have published ‘Employer Bulletin – Brexit edition’, which includes a summary of the likely changes for employers sending workers to the EU, the EEA and Switzerland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The bulletin confirms that the UK Government is working to protect UK nationals by seeking reciprocal arrangements with the EU or Member States to maintain existing social security coordination for a transitional period until 31 December 2020. However, there is no guidance with regard to the position of EU nationals coming to the UK.

Contact:

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