Atkin trustees, actuaries, consultants & administrators

Current issues - September 2018

Mercer to buy JLT to become UK’s largest pension consultancy: Yet another merger of pension providers, this time with JLT being bought by Mercer. This news may come as something of a surprise to smaller schemes already with JLT, particularly schemes originally with Scottish Widows who were only told this year that the administration was being passed to JLT. The creation of this pension leviathan may encourage Trustees of affected schemes to review their pensions' advisers to ensure that they are getting the best deal and best service for their members.

We believe that it is important that you consider obtaining an independent view to help protect your interests.

EU Court of Justice rules that PPF compensation is too low: The CJEU has ruled that members of occupational pension schemes, whose employers become insolvent, must receive at least 50% of the value of their pension entitlement. Whilst this is unlikely to have a significant impact on the majority of schemes, those schemes with members who have particularly high benefits may see increases to their PPF levy although this may not be until they have completed the s179 valuation. Such schemes may also want to consider whether to bring their s179 valuation forward and so delay impact of this change for as long as possible.

Pension Scams – TPR and FCA join forces: A new ‘ScamSmart’ advertising campaign has been launched by TPR and FCA. You may want to check with your administrators that this new guidance is being taken into account.

Statement of Investment Principles – new requirements from October 2019: Trustees of schemes with more than 100 members will need to update their Statement of Investment Principles to demonstrate how they take account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. Trustees will need to consult with their advisers to put plans in place to review their investment strategy, formulate policies and update their existing SIP by October 2019.

IORP II update: In response to IORP II requirements, it is proposed that an updated Code of Practice be issued to set out what is expected of trustees in respect of governance and internal controls. DWP proposes that the new regulations will come into force in December 2018 and that TPR will publish the Code of Practice within the following year. This, along with new policy developments, such as the proposed DB Chairman’s statement and the Regulator’s 21st Century Trusteeship initiative, demonstrates the increased focus on Scheme governance. Schemes will need to be ensure that they understand the requirements and are able to take a proportionate, rather than heavy handed approach.

GMP reconciliations deadlines: Final dates for completing GMP reconciliations are rapidly approaching and Schemes should check with the advisors that they are on track.

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Working as a graduate for an intimate company like Atkin & Co has provided me with the opportunity to apply my numerate skills in a practical way, the confidence to develop my own techniques to tackle challenges and the skills to communicate with a wide range of people from Senior Directors to members of pension schemes. Atkin & Co is certainly a company that I hope to achieve great success with.

Graduate Trainee, Atkin & Co