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Key points

  • Make information about your defined benefit (DB) scheme available to members, prospective members and other people entitled to benefits.
  • Make your annual report available within 7 months of the end of each scheme year.
  • Set up a procedure for dealing with complaints and tell members about it.

Who's entitled to information

The trustees of most pension schemes have to make information available about the scheme, including how it is run and the benefits it provides.

You must make information available to:

  • members – including active members, pensioner members and deferred members
  • prospective members
  • husbands, wives or civil partners of members and prospective members
  • other people entitled to benefits under the scheme
  • independent, recognised trade unions.

When to provide information

These people can usually ask for general information about the scheme and the benefits it provides, free of charge, once in any 12-month period. You must give this information to new members automatically when they join the scheme.

You also need to provide information to individuals on other occasions either automatically or if they request it, eg when a member retires, dies or leaves the scheme.

Sometimes scheme events will trigger the need to give information, eg you must send out certain information when a scheme starts to wind up or members are to be transferred to another scheme without their consent.

You must make specific items available on request. These include:

  • the scheme's trust deed and rules, although you only need to disclose those parts that are relevant to the individual's membership or the membership the union represents
  • actuarial valuations
  • the scheme's schedule of contributions
  • the scheme's statement of investment principles
  • the trustees’ annual report and accounts.

Annual reports and accounts

You must let members know that your annual report and accounts are available on request within 7 months of the end of each scheme year. Your report should describe how the scheme has been managed and any changes which have happened in the year. It must include, amongst other things:

  • a copy of the audited accounts and auditor's statement
  • details of the trustees and how they are appointed and removed
  • details of the scheme's professional advisers and fund managers
  • an investment report, including how the investments have performed
  • the number and breakdown of scheme members
  • the number of other people entitled to benefits under the scheme
  • details of pension increases and how they are worked out
  • an address for enquiries
  • the actuary's certification of the adequacy of the schedule of contributions.

Resolving disputes with members

You must have a formal arrangement in place for considering complaints between the trustees and:

  • members
  • prospective members
  • someone entitled to benefits following a member’s death
  • individuals who were recently in one of these categories
  • individuals who claim to be in one of these categories.

You must tell scheme members about this internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedure. You must also tell other individuals who would be entitled to make a complaint under it.

You can decide on a procedure that best suits your scheme. However, you should normally make decisions on disputes within four months.

You should review your IDR procedure regularly to ensure it’s working effectively.

Trustee toolkit online learning

Go to the Trustee toolkit The 'Pensions law' module contains information on resolving disputes. You must log in or sign up to use the Trustee toolkit.

Related content

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