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Pensions: what's new this week - 6 March 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 topics including: Pensions dashboards connection timetable delayed; PASA guide on preparing data for buy-in/out; HMRC Pension Schemes Newsletter; Pensions Academy Online – 28, 29 and 30 March.

Pensions dashboards connection timetable delayed

The pensions minister, Laura Trott, has announced that more time is needed to deliver pensions dashboards and that legislation amending the current scheme connection deadlines will be introduced ‘at the earliest opportunity’. The minister’s statement suggests that the dashboards framework set out in regulations will remain the same.

The minister has initiated a ‘reset’ of the Pensions Dashboards Programme (the body responsible for delivering dashboards) and announced that a new plan for delivery will be developed. The statement promises that the DWP will ensure that the pensions industry has adequate time and the necessary technical information to prepare for any revised connection deadlines. The minister will provide a further update to the House of Commons before the summer recess.

Read the statement.

PASA guide on preparing data for buy-in/out

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has published a guide on preparing data in advance of buy-in or buy-out (securing defined benefit pension scheme liabilities via an insurer). The guide highlights that poor data can lead to higher costs, longer timelines and the potential for unexpected changes to contracts and pricing if ‘nasty surprises’ are found through the process. Insurers will prioritise well-prepared schemes (an important consideration given the insurer capacity shortage expected over the next few years) and, in a worst-case scenario, may refuse to price for a project if they deem the data to be inadequate.

The guide sets out a list of key data items that insurers will want to be held and highlights that the data will need to be easily extractable and confirmed as accurate. It lists a number of actions that trustees can take in advance of buy-in/out to demonstrate that their data is being kept up to date and accurate, including a list of ‘quick wins’.

Read the guide.

HMRC Pension Schemes Newsletter

HMRC has published Pension Schemes Newsletter 147. The newsletter includes information on checking members’ residency status for relief at source purposes using HMRC’s look up service, and various tax changes in connection with the McCloud remedy for discrimination in public service pension schemes.

Read the newsletter.

Pensions Academy Online – 28, 29 and 30 March

We are delighted to announce that Pensions Academy is back for 2023. Over three days we will be holding a series of webinars on topical issues for pension schemes and the people who run them:

The new DB Funding Code – outstanding questions and upcoming challenges for pension schemes -Tuesday 28 March, 9:30 – 10:30

The pensions industry has been getting to grips with the long-awaited DB funding Code of Practice, which schemes are expected to have to comply with from 1 October 2023. Jon Forsyth of LCP will join Andy Cork to discuss practical actuarial and legal issues for defined benefit schemes preparing for the introduction of the new Code, identifying key areas of uncertainty and concern and giving practical tips on what schemes should be doing to prepare for its arrival.

Pensions in dispute – lessons from the courts and Pensions Ombudsman – Wednesday 29 March, 9:30 – 10:30

Understanding the views of the courts and Pensions Ombudsman is key to helping trustees avoid appearing in front of them, and knowing how to handle disputes when they do arise. Jason Shaw and Angela Stafford will draw out the most interesting cases and themes from recent pensions decisions, with a focus on those with a practical impact for schemes and lessons that trustees can carry over.

Legal update – what’s changing, now and next – Thursday 30 March, 9:30 – 10:30

With new Codes of Practice, ever-changing reporting requirements and a value for money framework on the horizon, to name just a few of the things trustees are expected to be grappling with, the trustee agenda is full and keeping up to date is a formidable task. Helen Powell and Joan Whybray will help you navigate recent and upcoming developments, highlighting the key things to be aware of and action points to be taking.

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