UK pension investments generate more carbon emissions than entire UK
Make My Money Matter and Route2 joint analysis reveals that UK pension scheme investments contribute to the release of approximately 330 million tonnes of carbon annually. This is greater than the UK's entire carbon output and the results have led to the co-founder of Make My Money Matter asking for the government to make all UK pension schemes adopt net zero commitments.
Climate Change Adaptation Reports from the UK financial regulators
The FCA, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Pensions Regulator have all published Climate Change Adaptation Reports, with the Report from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to follow later this year – see the FCA's, PRA's, FRC’s and TPR's joint statement.
The reports detail how climate change impacts upon respective responsibilities and what steps are being taken by way of response. They were produced in response to the government's invitation to publish such reports under the Climate Change Act 2008.
TPR will continue to work with other financial regulators in respect of climate change risk including the PRA, which has issued its own Report and the FCA, which has also issued a Report.
FCA policy statement on a new authorised fund regime for investing in long-term assets
The FCA published a policy statement on 25 October 2021 on the Long-Term Asset Fund (the LTAF), a new authorised open-ended fund category which will enable funds to invest in long-term illiquid assets such as venture capital, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure more efficiently. The aim of the LTAF is to encourage investors such as DC pension schemes to begin investing in these kinds of assets.
Following feedback that it would be impractical for the depositary to register the title to assets in its own name, the FCA will launch a consultation on amending this requirement in the first half of 2022. Around the same time there are also plans to consult on further broadening the scope of retail investors who can access the LTAF.
Having an open-ended fund structure such as the LTAF is not the only factor that may be prohibiting productive finance investment and the FCA's policy statement follows the recent report of the Productive Finance Working Group (the industry working group set up to facilitate investment in productive finance) which set out solutions to remove other difficulties that may be preventing DC pension funds from making such investments.
DB scheme consolidation: DB master trust self-certification regime launched by pensions industry working group
On 27 October 2021, the PLSA (the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association) announced the launch of a DB master trust self-certification regime. The regime uses a DB master trust self-certification template which DB master trusts can use to provide certain details including structural and operational information – further details can be found on the PLSA's website.
The regime and template were set up by the Defined Benefit Master Trusts industry working group, headed by the DWP and including the PLSA. The self-certificate allows key details to be provided to assist trustees and employers who are considering master trusts as an option for DB scheme consolidation. However, it should be noted that they are not to be taken as an indicator of scheme quality and there may be other consolidation options for a scheme in addition to a master trust.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme: fourth progress report
On 26 October 2021, the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) published its fourth progress report, confirming that it has now moved from the initial mobilisation phase of the dashboards project into the "develop and test phase". This phase will run until summer 2022.
The PDP, the DWP, the FCA and the Pensions Regulator will continue to collaborate on the secondary legislation and corresponding rules with the aim of making data available via dashboards in 2023