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Pensions: what's new this week - 24 October 2022

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24 October 2022

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 topics including: Dashboards developments; Dates for your diary: Pensions Academy Online – 31 October, 2 and 4 November.

Dashboards developments

A number of developments have taken place this week in relation to pensions dashboards: two sets of regulations, a consultation response and guidance for schemes looking to defer their connection date.

Regulations and consultation response

The government has laid draft regulations before Parliament setting out the requirements for pensions dashboards and occupational pension schemes interacting with them.

The regulations have been revised to reflect changes discussed in the DWP’s response to its initial January 2022 consultation, including tweaks to the connection deadline timetable and changes intended to simplify calculations in some circumstances (read more). They have also been amended following an additional consultation in June 2022, the response to which was published this week. That consultation considered (a) the amount of notice required before the Dashboards Available Point (DAP) - the date on which the dashboards will become available to the public; and (b) provisions relating to the sharing of information between the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and the Pensions Regulator (TPR). The DAP notice period has been extended to six months, rather than the 90 days initially proposed. The provisions in relation to the sharing of information between MaPS and TPR will be implemented largely as consulted on.

In addition, commencement regulations have been made bringing into force sections of the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (PSA21) related to pensions dashboards.

Read the dashboard regulations.

Read the PSA21 commencement regulations.

Read the consultation response.

Staging deadline deferral guidance

The DWP has also published draft guidance for schemes considering applying for deferral of their staging deadline (the date by which they must connect to the dashboards ‘ecosystem’).

Schemes can apply to defer their staging deadline by up to 12 months if, before the coming into force of the regulations:

  • they had embarked on a programme to transfer the data held by the pension scheme to a new administrator; and/or
  • they had entered into a contract containing an obligation to retender the administration of the scheme and the timetable for this is reasonable and conflicts with the staging deadline for the scheme; and
  • complying with the staging deadline (a) would be disproportionately burdensome, for example the monetary cost of compliance would be significantly higher, the additional cost is not considered to be in the best interests of scheme members, and reasonable alternatives have been considered; or (b) would put the personal data of members at risk. Changing administrator is not, of itself, sufficient.

Deferral can only be granted once. It will not be granted where it is suspected that a scheme is deliberately seeking to avoid its dashboard obligations. Applications must be supported by sufficient evidence and be made within 12 months of the regulations coming into force and at least two months before a scheme’s staging deadline, though the DWP recommends submitting them as early as possible, as applications will be prioritised for consideration based both on staging date and the date of the application.

Read the staging deadline deferral guidance.

Dates for your diary: Pensions Academy Online – 31 October, 2 and 4 November

Registration is now open for our next Pensions Academy Online (an update on issues for pension schemes and the people that run them). If you would like to attend, please sign up here. Sessions will cover:

Transfers: tricks, treats and traps for the unwary? – Monday 31 October, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

The introduction of red and amber flags was meant to help trustees identify points of concern with transfer requests and ensure that members got support from MoneyHelper where relevant – but there are glitches in the system and grey areas in guidance. In this webinar we’ll discuss the tricky areas and how best to deal with them.

Pensions Dashboards - coming, ready or not – Wednesday 2 November, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Get the inside track on dashboard developments from Chris Curry, Principal of the Pensions Dashboards Programme. We’ll update you on lessons learned in the testing phase and look at how trustees should be planning and preparing for implementation.

Legal update: remember, remember... – Friday 4 November, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

There’s been a stop/start feel to key pensions developments over the last couple of years, and it can be easy to lose track of where we’ve got to and what’s coming up. We’ll guide you through what’s happening now and what to expect next.