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Pension scams – don’t let your members be next

We recently relaunched our scorpion pension scams campaign, and have produced a video and guide for trustees on how to help your members protect their pensions. The guide includes a checklist about what to do if a member is asking for a transfer, tips on the due diligence you should be thinking about, and information about financial advisers and tax-registered pension schemes. Read the guide and watch the video now.

We also have a new short film and 10-step guide designed for members, which we encourage you to share. It includes warnings based on new intelligence, such as scammers pretending to be from Pension Wise or other government bodies, and we’re recommending that members contact their provider immediately if they think they’ve been scammed.

2016 annual funding statement published

Read our annual funding statement for 2016, which sets out our analysis of current market conditions and how employers and trustees of DB schemes can agree appropriate funding plans.

We’ve also published the key messages from the statement in a separate downloadable set of slides, which can be used to stimulate discussions and take to meetings.

Have you got an LEI code for your scheme?

We’re asking all UK occupational pension schemes with two or more members to obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code. An LEI code is a unique identifier for parties to financial transactions, with the aim of achieving higher-quality reporting and supervision. Find out how to get an LEI.

European Market Infrastructure Regulations currently require those involved with derivatives transactions to obtain an LEI for use when reporting them to a Trade Repository. Some pension schemes may be legally required to obtain an LEI. For schemes not subject to a legal requirement, obtaining an LEI code is entirely voluntary and no enforcement action will be taken against those schemes that choose not to comply.

Schemes are requested to obtain an LEI code by 30 June 2016. This is the deadline given by EIOPA in its guidelines – you can read more about them here.

Improving governance – one of our top 10 priorities

Helping trustees meet the challenges of 21st century governance is one of our top priorities over the next three years. The recently-published Corporate Plan highlights our intention to give you plenty of practical support and guidance to meet the standards we expect - such as providing us with timely and accurate information about your scheme. We will also be taking action against trustees of DC schemes that don’t comply with the new legal requirements for a chair’s statement or charge controls, and will enforce the ban on member-borne commission fees.

The Corporate Plan also sets out our ‘educate, enable and enforce’ approach to regulation, our targets and how we’ll measure them, and how we allocate our resources.

Commission and active member discount bans

Since 6 April 2016 administration service providers are banned from making scheme members cover commission costs they pay to advisers for advice and services given to members or sponsoring employers.

If your scheme provides money purchase benefits and is being used for automatic enrolment the ban is likely to apply and you’ll have duties to meet, including letting your service provider know. If you’re not sure whether the ban applies to your scheme you should seek legal advice.

A ban on active member discounts (AMDs) also came into effect on this date. This means you mustn't charge non-contributing members more than they would have paid if they were contributing to the scheme.

Find out more about the commission and AMD bans.

New questions on the DC scheme return

We’ll soon be sending out the scheme return for trustees of DC schemes to complete. Find out more about the changes using our checklist.

As well as some new questions around charge controls, this year the scheme return will ask questions to identify if the requirement to produce a chair’s statement applies to the scheme. If it does, the trustees need to declare whether or not their scheme has produced this statement – if they need to but haven’t, they could receive a £2,000 fine.

GPP providers urged to apply for automatic enrolment list

Group personal pension (GPP) providers that are open to all employers are being encouraged to apply to appear on a new list on our website. This is so that employers can make more informed choices when selecting a scheme. The criteria for the inclusion of GPPs are intended to mirror those of master trusts as far as possible. This means that they must be open to all employers, and confirm that their independent governance committee or governance advisory arrangement has assessed the product on offer.

See the full criteria here.

FAS closes to new applications on 1 September

From 1 September 2016 the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) will be closed to new applications. Although the majority of pension schemes that would qualify for FAS assistance have already applied, there’s a final window of opportunity for any potentially eligible remaining schemes to come forward.

If you think your scheme might be eligible for FAS assistance, please contact the PPF (who administer FAS) by emailing as soon as possible to make sure that members who might be entitled to assistance don’t miss out.

Find out more about FAS.

Communicating with members about changes to the State Pension age

The State Pension age (SPa) is changing, and will eventually rise to age 67 for both men and women by 2028. If your scheme benefit structure takes account of the State Pension (eg you offer integrated benefits, bridging pensions, or level pensions) then the changes might affect how much pension a member gets from your scheme. Read more here for a message to trustees from the DWP.

You can also find out more information about changes to the SPa and what this may mean for your members.


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