Regular round-up of the latest pensions, investments, trusteeship and scheme management news

Current Issues - September 2023

04 Sep 2023 - Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

See excerpts from this month's articles below (to read more, please download our latest Current Issues). 

Judge blocks changes to future accrual

A ruling of the High Court in England and Wales has effectively (pending appeal) prevented cost-saving changes to future-service benefits under a pension scheme, unless its active members agree. The case hinged on the particular words used in the scheme’s amendment rule, especially the interpretation of the members’ ‘interests’. The judge rejected the suggestion that a cost-cutting change made in compliance with the rule would be an improper use of the trustee’s power.

Stopgap additions to DC guidance

The Pensions Regulator reported updates to its Code of Practice for defined contribution (DC) schemes, as well as the guidance on investment governance and communication and reporting for DC trustees. The documents now cover forthcoming governance and disclosure requirements, intended to promote greater consideration of illiquid assets.

Public sector news

Summaries on: LGPS local valuations; Benefit statement guidance; McCloud tax implications and; Updated cost-cap directions

Employers entitled to surplus remaining after buy out

The Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland has agreed that a trustee was entitled to enter into arrangements to return post-buy-out surplus to the scheme’s participating employers. The scheme’s rules were silent on what was to be done with any remaining assets, and prohibited any alteration to permit payments to the employers whilst the scheme was ongoing. As part of the arrangements, the trustee and employers agreed to use some of the surplus to augment member benefits.

The reasonableness & size of contribution notices

The Upper Tribunal has rejected an appeal against a contribution notice issued to a former company director who was a party to a series of acts that led to a family member being paid over £3.6m from the proceeds of a joint venture, at a time when the company pension scheme's financial position was fast declining. The decision has some interesting things to say about the 'reasonableness' test that the Regulator needs to conduct before imposing a contribution notice, and the limits on the contribution that can be demanded by the Regulator.

Regulator revises superfund guidance

The Pensions Regulator has published a blog post announcing changes that it has made to its guidance for both those setting up and running defined benefit (DB) superfunds and trustees and employers considering transferring to one.

Updated guidance on deferral of connection to dashboards

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has updated its guidance for trustees and pension scheme managers on how to apply to defer connection to the pensions dashboards infrastructure.

Killing the golden goose

The High Court in England and Wales has approved a trustee’s decision to put its scheme’s ailing sponsors into insolvency proceedings. The trustee was concerned that otherwise 'scheme drift' would continue to worsen its already poor funding position.

Current Issues - September 2023


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