P is for pensions – an A-Z (almost!) for 2021

2nd February, 2021

  • With the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine well under way and the end of ‘lockdown’ in sight, thoughts may now be turning to catching-up, in-person, with friends and family and maybe even planning summer holidays (whether or not it has to be a ‘staycation’).

    There is, hopefully, lots to look forward to, and 2021 looks as though it will be a ‘fuller’ year for pension developments too as my attempt at an A-Z of pensions looks to evidence.

    I did not manage to link a topical subject to every letter of the alphabet and so would welcome input on the ones I may have missed. In any event, my A to Z goes like this.

    ‘A’ is for ‘automatic enrolment’ and our expectation of further reviews, covering charges and quality requirements for DB/hybrid schemes. At the time of writing, the thresholds for 2021-22 have just been announced.

    ‘B’ is, of course, ‘Brexit’ and what the end of the transition period will mean for pensions, including payments of pensions overseas and transfers of personal data to/from the EU.

    ‘C’ is for ‘collective DC’ and the regulatory requirements in the soon to be Pension Schemes Act 2021 and tax treatment in this year’s Finance Bill.

    ‘C’ could also be ‘court cases’ with a number of appeals expected this year, including a ruling on the lawfulness of PPF compensation; or ‘C’ could, as with 2020, still stand for ‘Covid-19’ with more TPR, PPF and/or HMRC guidance.

    ‘D’ is for ‘DB’ schemes and a further consultation on the new funding code this year.

    ‘D’ is also for ‘DC’ schemes and the prospect of more smaller scheme consolidation as a result of new regulatory requirements requiring schemes to demonstrate they are well governed.

    ‘D’ is for ‘dashboard’ too and the pensions dashboards framework in the new Pension Schemes Act.

    ‘E’ is for ‘ESG’ and climate change, with new provisions in the Pension Schemes Act and new guidance for trustees around responsible investment.

    ‘F’ is for ‘FCA’ and changes around pension transfers and investment pathways.

    ‘G’ must be ‘GMP equalisation’ and schemes finally getting round to addressing their GMP inequalities in practice.

    ‘H’ is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and more Pension Scheme Newsletters in 2021.

    ‘I’ is for ‘investment’ and more disclosures around implementation statements and stewardship, and re-tendering fiduciary management contracts.

    ‘I’ is for IORP (II) too, meaning more governance requirements and an updated Internal Controls Code.

    ‘L’ is the general ‘levy’ and the outcome of the consultation on increased occupational and personal pension scheme levies.

    ‘M’ is Master Trusts which are expected to continue to grow and innovate as the dominant form of DC pension provision.

    ‘N’ is for Normal Minimum Pension Age and the announcement that it will increase to age 57.

    ‘O’ is for Office for National Statistics and further intelligence on funded occupational pension schemes in the UK.

    ‘P’ is for ‘PPF’ and the ruling in the Hughes appeal on PPF compensation, as well as the publication of the final 2021/22 levy determination.

    ‘P’ is also for the ‘pledge’ and TPR’s new pension scams campaign.

    ‘R’ is for ‘Regulator’ and TPR’s new powers, its consultation on a single code of practice, and expected changes to TKU code and guidance.

    ‘S’ stands for ‘superfunds’ and a prospective legislative and regulatory framework for DB consolidators in another new Pensions Bill.

    ‘T’ is for ‘Tax’ and changes to pension tax administration to address net pay issue for low earners, an increase to the Lifetime Allowance, and possibly wider pensions-tax reform in the Budget.

    ‘T’ is also for ‘trustee’ and the much-anticipated outcome of the 21st century trusteeship consultation.

    Overall, another busy year ahead for pensions; we may even manage to complete the alphabet. Thoughts are welcome on the missing letters (J, K, Q, U, V, W, X, Y and Z)!

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    • Published byJohn Wilson

      John is Head of Technical, Research and Policy with over 33 years’ experience in employee benefits knowledge management He joined Dalriada in December 2019. Previously he was Head of Technical at JLT Employee Benefits for 20 years and pensions technical roles at...

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