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Pensions Academy, Autumn 2022: what we covered

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Bowden Neil
Neil Bowden

Partner

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Higgins Jane
Jane Higgins

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Sam Dent

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Charlotte Abell

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Myles Cormack

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Helen Powell

PSL Counsel

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Angela Stafford

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09 November 2022

Throughout the week of 31 October 2022 we hosted our Pensions Academy Online - an update on issues for pension schemes and the people that run them. Please find a summary of the key takeaways from the week below.

We started this season of Pensions Academy talks with the vexed topic of the transfers regime and the operation in practice of red and amber flags – specifically, the practical problems that schemes are encountering in relation to overseas investments (amber flag) and incentives to transfer (red flag). The Pensions Regulator has suggested that non-statutory/discretionary transfers could be used as a workaround where trustees are satisfied that no scam activity is involved – but this route also has practical implications for schemes, including process requirements under scheme rules, member communications and record-keeping. Either way, timing and risk implications need to be considered, and non-statutory transfers should never be used to avoid doing proper due diligence on the proposed receiving scheme.

Our mid-week session focused on pensions dashboards, and we were delighted to be joined by Chris Curry, Principal of the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP), for a far-reaching Q&A focusing on practical issues for schemes, including:

  • How should trustees go about choosing an integrated service provider to connect them to the dashboards?
  • What happens if a provider can’t ultimately meet the requirements?
  • What about data protection and fraud risks?
  • How do we manage member expectations given that the figures they see on the dashboard may not reflect what they ultimately receive?

The three key takeaways were: get data ready; decide how you will connect and select a provider if appropriate; and be aware of both the start and end of the connection window for your scheme. Support and resources are available via the PDP, Pensions Regulator and industry guidance. You are not alone!

We rounded off the week with a legal update, providing a reminder of where we’ve got to on some of the big ticket items of the day, and a look at what is coming up in 2023. We looked at the progress and timing of the new DB funding framework, including some of the issues that are under review in the wake of recent market volatility, and the draft DB Funding Code of Practice which is expected shortly. The Single Code of Practice will also occupy significant trustee time and energy in the coming months and we looked at how trustees can be preparing now for the effective system of governance and own-risk assessment requirements – including planning for new documents such as a remuneration policy. Following a look at recent statements from the Pensions Regulator on topics as varied as refinancing; managing liquidity and investment risks; equality, diversity and inclusion; and auto-enrolment, we summarised other upcoming developments in what looks like a busy year ahead.

If you are interested in receiving recordings of the sessions please get in touch with Helen Powell.

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