Comment on TPR’s announcement that Clara-Pensions has been cleared to accept transfers
30 Nov 2021
Commenting on TPR’s announcement that Clara-Pensions has been cleared to accept transfers, Iain Pearce, Senior Risk Transfer Consultant, Hymans Robertson, says:
“This is a landmark day in the history of defined benefit pensions as it opens up a new endgame for schemes that has not previously existed. This will provide more options to protect members’ benefits, especially for those schemes where there are significant doubts about their ability to be able to insure benefits in full at some point. Since The Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) released its guidance for superfunds over a year ago Clara-Pensions has been working hard to support the diligent assessment by TPR against this guidance and has now been added to the TPR website confirming that it has completed this assessment.
“Adding Clara-Pensions to its website signals to the pensions world that TPR is now willing to accept clearance applications for individual transfers and is a massive confidence boost to an industry which has been waiting a long time for further developments after the superfund guidance was issued in the middle of 2020. While TPR still expects ceding trustees to perform their own extensive due diligence, the guidance for trustees and sponsors acknowledges that comfort can be taken from TPR’s own assessment.
“The likely candidates to be the first schemes to transfer to a superfund are already very well progressed and have been engaging with TPR for some time. Therefore, we’d expect those first applications to be submitted very quickly, and we may see the first transfers finalised in 2022. However, the requirement to get TPR clearance for every case means that TPR’s initial assessment is not the final hurdle. We expect TPR to closely scrutinise all cases, paying particularly close attention to the first movers. Indeed, TPR notes that a number of key factors of their assessment, such as capital adequacy, will not be considered in detail until clearance applications are made.
“While TPR’s assessment against its guidance is key to transfers under current regulations, there remains, however, an expectation of a future dedicated regulatory regime for superfunds which may shift the goalposts for superfunds, trustees and sponsors. Therefore, regulatory uncertainty will remain for the time being."