Atkin trustees, actuaries, consultants & administrators

Current issues - June 2018

A Stronger Pensions Regulator – DWP Consultation: The proposals suggest the TPR taking a much more aggressive approach to policing pension schemes and their sponsors with the introduction of a wide range of Notifiable Events and introducing a “Declaration of Intent” under which the TPR will need to be notified of a wide range of corporate transactions/restructuring and other events before they take place. Alongside this they will have greater powers to levy more significant fines for a wide range of breaches both on individuals, Trustees and the sponsors of pension schemes. Criminal penalties will apply for certain offences, meaning that individuals could face prison and unlimited fines.

This is likely to significantly increase the governance burden on Trustees (and sponsors) and the risks of non-compliance with potentially significant fines for even relatively minor breaches. Trustees may want to check what indemnities and insurance they currently have in place and understand how they might be impacted by the proposed changes (in particular, what will actually be covered). I suspect, for many non-professional Trustees, this may be the final straw and it will be harder for schemes to obtain sufficient Trustees to manage their schemes. In these circumstances, it might be sensible to appoint an Independent Trustee and we are happy to talk through with you how this might work.

The notifiable events will be subject to breaching certain risk thresholds (although these are not specified at this time), sponsors who believe that they might breach these thresholds (for instance, may have significant funding deficits) , may want to review their future plans.

Finally, it will be interesting to understand how the TPR intend to be sufficiently resourced to be able to respond to all of these new notifications in a timely and proportionate manner. If they are to impose themselves on sponsors, it will be vital that they do not hold up transactions resulting in significant additional costs. Any outcomes should be transparent, non-arbitrary and consistent.

We are in the process of preparing our response to the consultation which ends on 21st August 2018.

If you would like to discuss what this consultation might mean for you and your Scheme or how you might take part in the consultation then please contact us.

Trustee Investment Duties – DWP Consultation: The proposals are intended to clarify and strengthen the investment duties of trustees. This is likely to lead to additional governance requirements and the hope is that these will be proportionate.

We are in the process of preparing our response to the consultation which ends on 16th July 2018.

If you would like to discuss what this consultation might mean for you and your Scheme or how you might take part in the consultation then please contact us.

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The service provided was at such high level that I have subsequently introduced Richard to other Final Salary Schemes and continue to be continually impressed with the level of service. Atkin are responsive and understanding and are quick to identify potential issues before they arise. Communications between the employer, adviser, Actuary, accountant etc. are excellent & I have no hesitation in recommending them.

Mike Emery, Ashley Law