Pensions: what’s new this week 11 October 2021
11 October 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: updates from the Pensions Regulator on the Pension Schemes Act 2021 and its DC investment guidance; the new code of practice on data sharing; and new rules on value for money.
- Pension Schemes Act 2021: TPR updates
- TPR retires Covid-19 guidance, updates DC investment guidance
- ICO: new data sharing code of practice now in force
- FCA: IGCs, new rules on value for money
- TPR’s powers and policy in practice: what do the new criminal offences mean for you?
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published a landing page on the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (PSA21), setting out materials that it has published to date, and further guidance and consultations that are expected in the coming months, including:
- finalised guidance relating to the new climate change-related duties;
- guidance for trustees and others on transfer requests – changes to statutory transfer rights are expected shortly, aimed at protecting members against pension scams;
- a consultation on updating TPR’s code of practice on notifiable events – changes to the notifiable events framework are expected from April 2022; the government is currently consulting on draft regulations;
- finalised policies relating to overlapping powers, monetary penalties and information-gathering powers – TPR is currently consulting on draft versions;
- a further consultation on the new DB funding code, and the full response to the earlier consultation; and
- a consultation on authorisation and supervision requirements for collective DC schemes.
This list relates to PSA21-linked materials – separately, TPR is also in the process of finalising its new single code of practice; the timing for publication has not been confirmed.
TPR has retired its Covid-19 guidance, although this is still accessible via the National Archives website. Employers and trustees are now directed to TPR’s standard guidance; content on circumstances in which the temporary closure of funds may lead to the creation of a default arrangement is now contained in the DC investment governance guidance.
TPR notes that it continues to focus on its supervisory regime, and is increasing its engagement with administrators.
The new code of practice on data sharing is now in force. This focuses on the sharing of personal data between controllers (not processing of data by a processor on behalf of a controller). The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a data sharing information hub with targeted support and resources, including checklists, templates, FAQs and case studies.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published new rules on the assessment and reporting of value for money by Independent Governance Committees and Governance Advisory Arrangements (which provide independent oversight of personal pension schemes). The new rules are aimed at achieving a more consistent and transparent framework for assessing value for members. The rules came into force on 4 October 2021. The next reporting deadline is 30 September 2022.
The FCA and TPR have recently published a joint discussion paper on value for money; the deadline for comments is 10 December 2021: read the paper.
TPR’s powers and policy in practice: what do the new criminal offences mean for you? Tuesday 12 October 2021, 2pm-3pm
Shortly before the ‘go live’ date of 1 October 2021, TPR published final details of its approach to prosecuting the new pension scheme-related criminal offences of avoidance of employer debt and conduct risking accrued scheme benefits.
TPR has responded to concerns that had been raised about the impact that its earlier proposals would have on corporate restructurings and distress scenarios, but there are still some gaps in the guidance and further changes to come. Experts from our Pensions and Restructuring teams will discuss:
- what do the new criminal offences mean in practice for banks and other lenders, private equity investors and corporates?
- what impact will they have on restructuring activity (in distress scenarios and otherwise)?
- what are the practical implications for risk management and due diligence?