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Pensions: what's new this week 23 August 2021

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23 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: a fine by the Information Commissioner for pensions cold calls; the latest HMRC newsletter; and a Save the Date for Investing pension funds sustainably - a lawyer and provider's view.

ICO fines company for pensions cold calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a company £50,000 for making illegal marketing calls to people about their pensions – the ban on pensions cold calls came into effect in 2019. The company called people about possible pension reviews, with a view to arranging an introduction to an adviser, and admitted to making almost 97,000 calls.

As it was not an authorised person or a trustee, the company did not meet the conditions to make unsolicited calls about pensions, but in addition the ICO determined that the company could not rely on consents provided by the individuals who were contacted. This was because contact details were acquired via a third party supplier which relied on consents to direct marketing given by the individuals to other websites in circumstances where they had no opportunity to select which organisations could contact them. It held that the company did not have informed consent to contact the individuals as these consents were not appropriately specific or freely given. This is a reminder of the importance attached to consent being properly informed in line with the UK GDPR – you can read more about the key principles for informed consent here.

Read the press release

Latest HMRC newsletter

HMRC has published its latest newsletter on the Managing Pension Schemes service. It contains an update on the migration of schemes from Pension Schemes Online, as well as information on submitting an event report and the charge reference to use for paying Accounting for Tax return charges. It also contains information on declaring as a pension scheme administrator for retirement annuity contracts and deferred annuity contracts, and a reminder for administrators about the deletion of user credentials that have not been used in at least three years.

Read the newsletter

Save the Date: Investing pension funds sustainably – a lawyer and provider’s view- 11am on 28 September 2021

With over £2.4 trillion of investments held by UK occupational pension schemes, it’s easy to see why ever-increasing sustainability obligations for pension schemes are an essential part of the UK government’s drive to net-zero, putting pressure on trustees to invest sustainably. But what are the legal requirements trustees need to consider when making sustainable investment decisions and how can they achieve a sustainable strategy that isn’t to the detriment of financial return?

In this webinar, Matt Townsend, Co-Head of Allen & Overy’s Sustainability Working Group, will chair a session with Jessica Kerslake, Partner in Allen & Overy’s Pensions team, and Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors. Jessica will outline the latest legal requirements and the factors trustees must consider. Steve will set out the steps Aviva has taken to navigate these legal requirements, reaching positive sustainable investment decisions based on financial factors and creating one of the UK’s first default investment strategies that incorporates both ethical and ESG considerations.

Invitations will be sent out shortly; we hope you can join us.