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Pensions UK: What's New this Week 2 August 2021

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02 August 2021

Welcome to your weekly update from the Allen & Overy Pensions team, covering all the latest legal and regulatory developments in the world of occupational pensions.

This week we cover topics including: scheme funding analysis by the Pensions Regulator; upcoming climate change-related duties; and the latest HMRC updates.

TPR publishes scheme funding analysis

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published its latest analysis of scheme funding issues, based on Tranche 14 schemes (effective valuation dates between 22 September 2018 and 21 September 2019). It notes that 31% of Tranche 14 schemes reported a surplus on the technical provisions basis. The average recovery plan length was approximately 5.9 years; three-quarters of schemes in covenant group 1 (strong) have recovery plans of up to six years; the same proportion of schemes in covenant group 4 (weak) have recovery plans of up to 13 years.

Read the analysis.

Upcoming climate change-related duties

New climate change-related duties will come into force from 1 October 2021 for the trustees of the largest pension schemes (with £5bn+ in relevant assets) and master trusts. Trustees of schemes in this phase of the rollout need to be actively preparing for compliance, ensuring that scheme processes are reviewed and updated, and that trustees have appropriate knowledge and understanding.

The regulations underpinning the framework are in place, and the statutory guidance document has been updated to clarify that it is the final guidance (i.e. the ‘draft’ stamp has been removed).

Please contact your usual Allen & Overy adviser to arrange training on the new requirements.

Read the statutory guidance.

Latest HMRC updates

HMRC’s latest Pension Schemes Newsletter (no.131) includes a reminder about information returns and issuing annual allowance pension savings statements, plus updates on the Managing Pension Schemes service and other information and statistics.

Read the Pension Schemes Newsletter.

HMRC’s latest Countdown bulletin (no. 55) highlights the planned closure of Scheme Cessation and Scheme Reconciliation eRooms from 1 September; administrators are advised to check the data held in these eRooms and make copies of any information required as it will not be possible to request copies of this data from HMRC post-closure. It also covers how to use the Guaranteed Minimum Pension checker.

Read the bulletin.

Latest TPR blog post: diversity and inclusion

TPR has published a blog post discussing progress since the publication of its own diversity and inclusion strategy last year.

Read the blog post.

Dashboards: voluntary testing phase

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has published an update on the upcoming voluntary testing phase. A number of large pension providers have agreed to take part in a testing phase from the end of this year; the PDP is still calling for volunteers to take part in later testing phases.

Read the update.