Pensions Insight: 30 April to 7 May 2024

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Gateley Legal

In this Insight, we report on the State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill, TPR’s new corporate plan, updated data standards for pensions dashboards and a consultation on the future of the Pension Scams Industry Group.

Private Member’s Bill on SPA compensation scheme for women born in the 1950s

The State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill has been introduced into Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by SNP MP Alan Brown. 

The Bill requires the Government to produce compensation scheme proposals for women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1960 who have been impacted by state pension age (SPA) increases. It follows the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s recent findings that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) did not provide accurate, adequate and timely details of increases to women’s SPA to women born in the 1950s, and that its failings caused injustice which should be remedied through financial compensation (see our insight). 

The Bill is currently scheduled to have its Second Reading on 17 May 2024. It is uncertain whether the Bill will gain momentum at this point in time given Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, recently noted the importance of “the DWP seriously consider[ing] the findings in the report before we come to our conclusions, and that we then come to the House to present those conclusions.” 

This has not yet happened.

TPR publishes new corporate plan

On 3 May 2024, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) published its corporate plan 2024 to 2027. This sets out TPR’s plans for the next three years explaining how it “will protect savers’ money, help to enhance the pensions system and support innovation in the interests of savers”. It covers pensions challenges, TPR’s priorities in the next three years, its organisation and how it manages risk and performance.

Key challenges

  • implementing the new defined benefit funding code of practice;
  • making sure that schemes provide value for money;
  • improving trustee standards; and
  • ensuring trustees prepare properly for pensions dashboards.

Priorities (relate to existing work and initiatives and key challenges)

As well as working on the above challenges, TPR’s priorities include:

  • trusteeship – closer engagement with professional trustees and promotion of the general code (see here);
  • increasing relationships with key administrators;

Defined contribution

  • producing guidance on decumulation – see here;
  • working on how it supervises master trusts and more emphasis on investments – see here;
  • making sure specified schemes comply with their value for members (VfM) requirements (see here) and working on new VfM framework (see here);

Defined benefit

  • producing capital backed journey plans guidance, support innovation and progress assessment of emerging market propositions;
  • implementing new funding code and how TPR will regulate defined benefit (DB) funding under revised regime (see here).

TPR organisation

TPR has recently added three new regulatory directorates to assist its evolving approach to pensions regulation. These are regulatory compliance, market oversight and strategy, policy and analysis – more details can be found in the corporate plan and its February 2024 press release.

Pensions dashboards: PDP updated data standards

On 1 May 2024, the Pensions Dashboards Programme (the PDP) released updated data standards. The mandatory standards cover the data requirements for finding and viewing pensions information on the dashboards.

The Money and Pensions Service, via the PDP, is required to set mandatory standards regarding connection – they include those relating to data as well as technical, reporting and design standards and security, service and operational standards which will be contained in a code of connection. These other standards will be published after testing has been completed.

PSIG consults on its future

On 1 May 2024, the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) published a consultation regarding its future to find out the benefit provided by the group to the pensions industry on scams, how it might operate going forward including how it could be funded. The consultation closes on 30 July 2024.

PSIG published its first Code of Good Practice on pension scams back in 2015 – this and subsequent updates have been used industry-wide to assist in scam due diligence (see here). However, as Margaret Snowdon OBE (PSIG chair) has noted, those working for PSIG are volunteers and, taking into account required resources, it needs ‘more help’ and it is “really up to the industry now to decide”.

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