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Pensions: what's new this week - 11 September 2023

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

This week we cover the following topics: HMRC Pensions Tax Manual updates; MaPS publishes statistics on Pension Wise service; ICO guidance on processing workers’ health information; Pensions Academy Online: 26 and 28 September 2023.

HMRC Pensions Tax Manual updates

HMRC has updated a range of pages in its Pensions Tax Manual (PTM) to reflect changes made in the Finance (No. 2) Act 2023. These changes include the abolition of the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) charge and increases to the annual allowance (AA), money purchase annual allowance and thresholds for the tapered AA (read more). In relation to the LTA changes, relevant PTM pages have been updated to include a brief summary of the changes and an explanation that the existing guidance is now relevant only for events occurring before 6 April 2023. In relation to the other changes, the PTM has been updated to incorporate the new position into the guidance.

Read the PTM updates.

MaPS publishes statistics on Pension Wise service

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has published the results of a survey of people who have had a telephone or online appointment with Pension Wise (a free service available to those over the age of 50, offering guidance on accessing pension savings, pensions tax and how to look out for scams). Some key results from the survey include: 90% of Pension Wise users said that they are well informed about their options for accessing their pension pots after an appointment or using its resources (compared with 65% of non-users feeling well informed); a higher proportion of people who had used the service had since taken action in relation to their pensions compared to non-users; and 94% of users were confident they could avoid a pension scam, compared to 88% of non-users. MaPS is encouraging wider use of the service.

Read more.

ICO guidance on processing workers’ health information

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new guidance for employers on handling workers’ health information. The guidance is split into two parts: the first section contains an overview of how data protection law applies to the processing of workers’ health information, including data protection principles and how to ensure data is processed lawfully; the second section addresses more specific scenarios in which employee health data is processed and includes when information can be shared with third parties. This guidance is primarily aimed at employers but may also be a useful reference point when dealing with information received in relation to ill health retirement applications.

Read the guidance.

Pensions Academy Online: 26 and 28 September 2023

Pensions Academy – our regular update on topical issues for pension schemes and the people that run them - is back for Autumn 2023. This Academy will be tackling the following topics:

Tuesday 26 September, 9.30am - 10.30am: Responding to a cyber breach – getting it right when things go wrong

Cyber breaches are increasingly a fact of life, and one for which all schemes should be prepared: your immediate next steps can make all the difference to the quality and speed of your response and the mitigation of risk. Join Andy Cork and Benjamin Scrace for a session focusing on lessons learned from recent breaches and how to respond well to an unexpected challenge.

Thursday 28 September, 9.30am - 10.30am: Legal update – what’s changing, now and next

Will they/won’t they…so many pensions developments have had a stop/start feel to them over the last few years, but with the General Code now due to go live this Autumn and a swathe of new ideas in the Chancellor’s Mansion House speech, there’s plenty to discuss. Helen Powell and Angela Stafford will help you prepare for the incoming tide of pensions developments.

If you would like to attend either of the sessions please sign up here.