Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

15 November 2015

Week ending 15 Nov: “Small but important” changes to pension regulations| Provider ordered to pay £10,000 after failing to inform member about GAR| Pension Schemes Act 2015 (Commencement No 1) Regulations 2015| Workplace pension safest form of retirement saving | Pension tax relief systems is OECD and non OECD countries

“Small but important” changes to pension regulations

Changes to existing pensions regulations, described by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as “small but important”, are being consulted on. The changes update existing regulatory requirements and remove the requirement for an auditor’s statement of contributions from large multi-employer schemes.

The consultation also asks for views from the pensions industry on how burdens on those running schemes can be reduced while maintaining member protection. DWP adds, however, that reductions in regulatory burdens must always be weighed against other factors—such as the impact on members’ accrued rights and the security of pensions, the government’s overall agenda for pensions and the value of change compared to burdens of implementation.

DWP therefore wants to hear about areas where requirements may have fallen out of date or where improvements could be made.

The consultation document also forms the Government Response to the February 2015 consultation entitled “Consultation on changes to the investment regulations following the Law Commission’s report ‘Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries’”  on two potential changes to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations 2005,  proposing that no changes are made at this stage.

Government is also using this document to seek views and evidence about the extent to which schemes make information available about how they make investments.

Provider ordered to pay £10,000 after failing to inform member about GAR

In this determination (Godfrey, PO-569)), the Pensions Ombudsman ordered Abbey Life to pay a member almost £10,000 after both the provider and Towers Watson failed to inform her of a guaranteed annuity rate (GAR) in her policy.

The Ombudsman held that it was maladministration for a pension provider not to follow its usual pre-retirement procedures, which would have included providing the member with a pension illustration factoring in the GAR.

Pension Schemes Act 2015 (Commencement No 1) Regulations 2015

These regulations (SI 2015/1851) bring into force the following provisions of the 2015 Pension Schemes Act –

  • section 77 (payments into Remploy Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme
  • section 81 (extension to Scotland of certain provisions about marriage of same sex couples.

Workplace pension safest form of retirement saving

Latest statistics from the ONS show that savers have a preference for workplace pensions in terms of security, with 41 per cent selecting this option compared to 28 per cent selecting property.

However, when it came to choosing the option that would make the most money, 44 per cent of savers selected property, against just 25 per cent selecting a workplace pension.

Workplace pensions still came out well above other forms of saving, such as ISAs, personal pensions and premium bonds.

Download the research here.  

Pension tax relief systems is OECD and non OECD countries

The OECD has published results of a stocktaking exercise on the tax treatment of funded private pension plans for all OECD countries and non-OECD EU countries. It reveals that about half of OECD countries and half of EU member states apply a variant of the EET (exempt, exempt, taxed) regime for funded private pension plans.

TEE is applied in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico and Lithuania, and EEE in Slovak Republic and Bulgaria.

Contact:

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

Julian Rowe, Head of Technical | Email: julian_rowe@jltgroup.com