Weekly update on new developments in the pension industry for week commencing 22 April 2018
Subjective expectations of survival and economic
This paper investigates individuals’ expectations about their own survival to older ages and compares patterns in average responses about survival chances with actual and projected survival rates. The extent to which individuals have, on average, accurate expectations about survival to older ages is important in a context of increasing personal responsibility for and control over the accumulation and use of savings for retirement.
Contracting-Out Countdown Bulletin (April 2018)
Bulletin number 33 is now available and contains important information about the Scheme Reconciliation Service.
- Multiple periods automated solution
- Phase 6 of SRS automation
- Scheme cessation reminders
- Refund for SRS queries
- Useful links
TPR Cyber Risk Guidance for Trustees
The Pensions Regulator has issued a guide on cyber security principles for pension schemes.
The cyber risk can be broadly defined as the risk of loss, disruption or damage to a scheme or its members as a result of the failure of its information technology systems and processes. It includes risks to information (data security) as well as assets, and both internal risks (e.g. from staff) and external risks (e.g. hacking).
Pension schemes should take steps to build their cyber resilience – the ability to assess and minimise the risk of a cyber incident occurring, but also to recover when an incident takes place.
TPR’s guide sets out good practice for pension schemes, which can be adopted proportionately to the profile of the scheme.
- Cyber assessment cycle
- Incident response
- Final word - dealing with an evolving risk
Government to conduct independent review of Financial Reporting Council
The government has launched an independent review to examine the role and powers of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the regulator for auditors, accountants and actuaries. The review—to be led by Sir John Kingham—will assess the FRC’s governance, impact and powers, to help ensure it is fit for the future. The review is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.
Overpayments and the ‘limitation’ defence
In this case, Burgess and others v BIC UK Ltd  EWHC 785 (Ch), the High Court, Chancery Division, ruled that the decision to pay increases to pensions prior to 1997 in respect of the BIC UK pension scheme had been validly made.
It also held that the equitable right of recoupment to recover pension overpayments was not subject to a six-year limitation period under s 5 of the Limitation Act 1980.
In more detail, it was ruled that, if trustees identified an overpayment and notified it to the member with proposals for the exercise of the right of recoupment out of future payments of pension, the member could refer to the Pensions Ombudsman a dispute about either the amount or the terms on which the trustees propose to exercise their right of recoupment. If the trustees were to exercise the equitable right of recoupment to recover overpayments, then a determination by the Pensions Ombudsman on a reference by a member would not amount to an order of a competent court within PA 1995 s 91(6), but an order of the county court enforcing such a determination would. The court was not in a position to determine, on a group basis, whether recovery of overpayments by the trustees would be barred by laches or estoppel, since those were matters which required determination as between the trustees and individual members of the scheme in their own particular circumstances.
HMRC removes AA calculator
HMRC has had to temporarily remove an online calculator which gave incorrect information about annual pension allowances.
Royal London, the insurer, noticed the errors and informed HMRC that its webpage was giving misleading details about pension contributions for higher earners.
According to Royal London, the HMRC website was getting this calculation wrong in some cases for both 2017/18 and 2018/19.
The webpage has now been taken down whilst HMRC updates the annual allowance calculator.
RSA calls for flat rate pensions tax relief
The Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) is calling for a new approach to pensions relief to offer more support for lower earners and the self employed, saying that three quarters of workers would be better off if the government introduced a 30% flat rate
Its report (Venturing to Retire), produced in partnership with e-commerce marketplace Etsy, can be viewed at - https://www.thersa.org/about-us/media/2018/top-10-handed-40-of-pension-tax-relief-rsa-warns.
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