Regular round-up of the latest pensions, investments, trusteeship and scheme management news
Current Issues - April 2021
06 Apr 2021
See excerpts from this month's articles below (to read more, please download our latest Current Issues):
The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Budget 2021 speech to Parliament on 3 March 2021. The main pensions-related news was confirmation of rumours that the lifetime allowance will be frozen at its current level, but there was also foreshadowing of regulation changes to facilitate investment in illiquid assets.
Regulator outlines policy on new DB criminal powers
The Pensions Regulator has made known the approach that it proposes to take to the investigation and prosecution of new criminal offences connected with defined benefit pension schemes. Its draft policy provides examples of activities that might trigger investigation and when ‘a reasonable excuse’ might exist.
One Code to rule them all: combining Codes of Practice
The Pensions Regulator has begun consultation on draft content for a consolidated Code of Practice. This initial instalment will replace ten of the fifteen existing Codes, and deals mainly with governance and administration matters in both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, and encompassing the private and public sectors. The remaining Codes will be incorporated into the new, modular format later. The consultation period is from 17 March to 26 May 2021.
RPI error understates inflation
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced an error in the compilation of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) that led it to underestimate the annual rate of inflation for six of the months of 2020.
NMPA increase consultation
Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) has confirmed its intention to increase the normal minimum pension age (NMPA) from 55 to 57 years on 6 April 2028. The NMPA is the earliest age within the pensions tax legislation at which members in good health can access their benefits. General levy increases tilted toward DB & own-trust DC.
General levy increases tilted toward DB & own-trust DC
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced the outcome of its December 2020 consultation exercise on the general levy. It is proceeding with its preferred option, which is to increase the levy rates, but dole out the pain differently amongst four scheme types (defined benefit, ‘own-trust’ defined contribution. master-trust DC, and personal pension) in proportion to the share of regulatory resources that each consumes. Regulations have set the levies for 2021/22, 2022/23, and 2023/24.
Strengthening the Regulator’s contribution-notice & info-gathering powers
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published two draft statutory instruments providing details of a proposed new test for contribution notices and the extension of the Pensions Regulator's information-gathering powers.
Social factors in ESG policies
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a call for evidence about consideration of social risks and opportunities by occupational pension schemes. It is seeking views on the effectiveness of trustees' policies and practices in relation to the 'S' in 'ESG': financially material social factors.
Allowing for performance fees within the DC charge cap
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) proposes to allow for smoothing of performance fees when testing for compliance with the defined contribution (DC) charge cap, as a means of facilitating investment in less-liquid assets. It has also asked whether the current policy of 'look-through' to underlying investments might stymie investment in assets such as venture capital and growth equity.
SI round up
Various statutory Orders have been laid before Parliament, affecting benefits from April 2021.
HMRC newsletters March 2021
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published Pension Schemes Newsletter 128.