Pensions UK: What's new this week - 1 March 2021
01 March 2021
This week we cover developments including: new guidance and documentation for restructurings from the Pension Protection Fund; a new regulatory report on the criminal prosecution of a pension scheme trustee; and the outcome of a review into the alternative quality requirements for auto-enrolment.
- Restructurings: PPF issues new guidance and documentation
- New TPR report on criminal prosecution of trustee
- Auto-enrolment: no change to alternative quality requirements
- Brexit updates
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has issued guidance on moratoriums and restructuring plans under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. The guidance covers issues including: requirements to notify the PPF about moratoriums and restructuring plans; engagement with the PPF; and the PPF’s approach to the use of these tools. The PPF has also published new versions of its standard documentation for restructurings.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published a regulatory report on its prosecution of a corporate trustee director for defrauding a pension scheme. The individual was the chief executive and chairman of a charity, and a director of the corporate trustee of the charity’s pension scheme. TPR also investigated the wife of the chief executive and another director of the corporate trustee (who was the chair of the board of trustees), but ultimately decided it was not in the public interest to pursue prosecutions of those individuals.
TPR’s investigation was triggered by a whistleblower report from a scheme adviser; TPR used a range of its existing powers in investigating and prosecuting this case. Under the Pension Schemes Act 2021, TPR will be given new information-gathering and investigatory powers, and significant new criminal offences will be created. TPR is expected to consult on guidance on the new offences, before the provisions in the Act are brought into force.
The government has announced that it is not planning to change the alternative quality requirements for DB and hybrid schemes used for auto-enrolment, following a recent statutory review. The review also confirms that the alternative tests that are used by DC arrangements (and certain types of DB scheme) continue to meet the requirement that for at least 90% of jobholders, contributions are likely to be no less under the alternative tests than the main auto-enrolment tests.
The government plans to work with stakeholders that suggested technical changes to the statutory guidance as part of the review process, and to consider if there is scope for proportionate easements in future. The next statutory review will take place in 2023.
The European Commission has published a draft ‘adequacy’ decision – that is, a draft determination that the UK provides an essentially equivalent level of protection to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If adopted, the decision will allow for the free flow of personal data from the EU into the UK. At present, transitional data protection arrangements are in place under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed between the UK and EU. The UK government has welcomed the development.
Read the Commission’s press release (with links to the decision).
Our Employment colleagues have published a post-Brexit transition Q&A for employers which covers issues including how the TCA impacts employment law, future changes to UK employment law, and worker mobility.