Regular round-up of the latest pensions, investments, trusteeship and scheme management news
Current Issues - December 2019
03 Dec 2019 - Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Excerpts from this month's articles (to read more, please download our latest Current Issues):
The three main UK political parties have published their manifestos for the 12 December general election. For this article, we have surgically extracted (cut-and-pasted) their pensions-related policies.
Pension costs & transparency - Government & FCA response
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Government’s responses to its recommendations on pensions costs and transparency.
PLSA retirement income targets published
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has established a set of ‘retirement living standards’ to give people an idea of the level of income they will need in retirement to have the lifestyle they want.
DWP considers options for better DC benefit statements
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is exploring ideas for improving the effectiveness of annual money purchase benefit statements. It wants to know whether the desired standardisation of form and content can be achieved voluntarily or if compulsion will be required; proposes that members be given details of the charges and transaction costs that they have paid ‘in pounds and pence’; and intends to take over the Financial Reporting Council (FRC)’s role as the author of guidance for the production of statutory money purchase illustrations (SMPI).
Revised Stewardship Code asks more of investors
A new version of the Stewardship Code, published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), will set higher standards for trustees and asset managers with effect from 1 January 2020.
Guidance on CMA requirements
The Pensions Regulator has finalised guidance on how to Tender and set objectives for investment service providers. It is intended to help trustees satisfy new requirements for oversight of investment consultancy and fiduciary management services, which come into effect this month.
DB-to-DC transfers: due diligence guidance revised
The Pensions Regulator has revised its guidance on DB to DC transfers and conversions because of forthcoming changes to the Financial Services Register.
Pilfered contributions fully recoverable
In a break from the norm, this month we find ourselves reporting on pensions issues raised during criminal court proceedings. The case involved an appeal against a confiscation order relating (in part) to misappropriated employer contributions, and asked whether it was disproportionate to expect the embezzler to repay the full amount, or if some discount should be made for the scheme benefits that - hypothetically, in the absence of fraud - she would eventually have received.
Mixed-sex couples able to form civil partnerships
Regulations allowing mixed-sex couples in England and Wales to form civil partnerships were in the small batch of laws to emerge successfully from the October - November 2019 session of Parliament. The Scottish Parliament is currently considering a Bill on the subject, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland must make regulations to allow same-sex marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships by 13 January 2020.
HMRC pension schemes newsletter
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published Pension Schemes Newsletter 115.