Developments in Employee Benefits law and practice

11 January 2017

Weekly update on new developments in the pension industry for week ending 9 January 2017. PPF investigation into Bernard Matthews DB scheme | TPR fines master trust schemes for failure to prepare their Chair’s Statement | PPF FAQs for 2017/18 levy | What to look out for in 2017 |

PPF investigation into Bernard Matthews DB scheme

According to The Financial Times, the trustees of the Bernard Matthews pension scheme and the Pension Protection Fund have initiated an investigation into whether the company’s pension scheme was robbed of funds before falling into administration last year.

2020 Trustees chief executive Antony Miller told the Financial Times: “We are investigating whether actions taken in recent years were appropriate, necessary and resulted in the pension scheme receiving fair value.”

TPR fines master trust schemes for failure to prepare their Chair’s Statement

The Pensions Regulator has issued its first fines against master trust schemes that failed to complete a chair’s statement.

TPR has fined the trustee of the Save and Prosper Funds £3,020 after failing to provide a statement for three master trust schemes. It has also ordered the trustee of Nurture Master Trust, MC Trustees Ltd to pay a fine of £2,000 for not providing a statement.

The maximum fine of £2,000 was imposed as the scheme had a professional trustee in place and there were no mitigating factors.

TPR has published a regulatory intervention report for both cases.

PPF FAQs for 2017/18 levy

The PPF has published four new FAQs covering:

  • The circumstances in which Experian will re-calculate insolvency scores if revised accounts are filed by levy-payers in light of the switch to the FRS 102 accounting standard.
  • How Experian converts non-sterling accounts to sterling for the purpose of calculating insolvency scores.
  • Whether Experian will accept accounts not published in English. {It will, so long as a translation is provided which is certified as accurate by the auditor.}
  • How an insolvency score adjustment can be requested if a levy-payer is affected by the switch to FRS 102.

The finalised levy determination is due to be published by 31 March 2017.

What to look out for in 2017

Prospective highlights:

  • DWP Green Paper on Defined Benefit Pension Scheme reform.
  • Further measures to restrict charges in both contract and trust-based defined contribution (DC) schemes.
  • DWP review of auto-enrolment. A working group will be set up to advise the DWP on the review, with a full report expected later in the year.
  • Money purchase annual allowance possibly reduced to £4,000.
  • There is also likely to be progress during 2017 in relation to a number of cases covering topics as diverse as death-benefit nominations; VAT; and the PPF compensation cap. The outcome of the ‘Brexit’ Supreme Court case should be known by the end of January (with the government planning to give notification of the UK's intention to leave the EU by the end of March).

Contact:

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

Stephen Williams, Senior Research Consultant | Email: stephen_williams@jltgroup.com