Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

01 October 2018

2018 Budget date announced

The Chancellor has announced that his Budget statement will be made on Monday 29 October 2018.

Latest ONS life expectancy statistics

  • Life expectancy at birth in the UK did not improve in 2015 to 2017 and remained at 79.2 years for males and 82.9 years for females.
  • Within the UK, life expectancy at birth declined by 0.1 years in 2015 to 2017 for males and females in Scotland and Wales, and for males in Northern Ireland; life expectancy at birth remained unchanged from 2014 to 2016 for females in Northern Ireland and males and females in England.
  • Life expectancy at age 65 years in the UK did not improve for males and females in 2015 to 2017 and remained at 18.6 years for males and 20.9 years for females.
  • Across all four UK countries, life expectancy at age 65 years remained the same in 2015 to 2017 except for males in Northern Ireland where a decline of 0.1 years was seen.
  • Around one in five newborn males and one in three newborn females in the UK in 2015 to 2017 could expect to live to at least age 90 years; the chance of survival to age 90 years has remained virtually unchanged since 2012 to 2014.
  • Life expectancy in the UK remained lower than in many other comparable countries internationally.

The Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitory Provisions (Modification)) Regulation

The Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitory Provisions (Modification)) Regulations, SI 2018/1029, bring into force the specified provisions in Part 1 of Act on 1 October 2018 in order to establish a single financial guidance body and make associated and consequential provision.

The Occupational Pension Schemes (Master Trusts) Regulations

The Occupational Pension Schemes (Master Trusts) Regulations, SI 2018/1030, fully commence the authorisation and supervision regime for master trust pension schemes under the provisions of the Pension Schemes Act 2017. The regulations are effective 1 October 2018, except for Regulation 23(2)(b)(i) and (ii), which will come into force on 1 April 2019.

Pension bosses banned for 34 years after abusing members’ funds

Four directors of companies that formed part of a group involved in the transfer of millions of pounds of pensions have been banned for a total of 34 years.

Karl Dunlop, Stuart Grehan and Ian Dunsford previously accepted disqualification undertakings for their management roles within the group of companies involved in the transfer of pension funds.

Stuart Grehan, Director of Sycamore Crown Ltd and also known as Stuart Chapman-Clark, agreed to a 9-year voluntary ban as a result of false and misleading statements made to encourage investors to transfer their pension pots.

Karl Dunlop (9 years), Director of Imperial Trustee Services Ltd, and Ian Dunsford (7 years), Director of Omni Trustees Ltd, agreed to voluntarily bans for failing to act in the best interests of pension members and subsequently failing to ensure investments were adequately diverse.

And despite not formally being appointed a director of Transeuro Worldwide Holdings Ltd, Stephen Talbot recently accepted a 9-year disqualification undertaking for failing to explain what happened to millions pounds worth of assets.

The investigation, led by the Insolvency Service, centred on the conduct of the directors connected with Transeuro Worldwide Holdings Ltd (TWH), who helped fund two introducer firms Sycamore Crown Ltd (Sycamore) and Jackson Francis Ltd (JF).

The introducer firms cold-called members of the public, inviting them to transfer their pension pots into Self Invested Personal Pension plans (SIPPs) and pension schemes operated by Omni Trustees Ltd (Omni) and Imperial Trustee Services Ltd (Imperial), who provided trustee and administrator services for two occupational pension schemes – Henley Retirement Benefit Scheme (HRBS) and Capita Oak Pension Scheme (COPS).

However, investigators found that the introducers from both Sycamore and Jackson Francis misled clients about their expertise and experience, offering ‘guaranteed’ returns designed to encourage them to transfer their existing pension funds.

As a result, more than £39m was paid into SIPPs, over £10m into COPS and more than £8m to HRBS. Members’ funds were then largely invested in unregulated investments in storage units which ultimately did not yield the level of returns promised to members.

Cost of pension tax reliefs in 2016/17 increases to £38.6bn

Gross pension tax relief in 2016-17 is projected to be £38.6 billion, up from £38.5 billion in 2015-16. The general rise is expected to be partly the result of the introduction of automatic enrolment, which has increased the number of individuals saving and thus the total amount saved into workplace pensions in recent years. Reductions in the annual and lifetime pensions tax allowances were expected to be the main cause of the flattening cost of pensions tax relief between 2010-11 and 2014-15.


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

Stephen Williams, Senior Research Consultant | Email: