Welcome to the March issue of Compass

19 March 2018

Compass provides commentary and analysis of recent legislative and regulatory developments affecting pensions and employee benefits.

As we all recover from the ‘beast from the east’ snowstorm, the Department for Work and Pensions has been busy releasing four sets of significant regulations for pensions, while the Irish Government has published its own roadmap for pension reforms.  Accordingly we were grateful that the Chancellor decided on a quiet Spring Statement so as to allow us all to focus on other developments. However, that very day a later surprise was the decision that childcare vouchers would remain open to new joiners for a further six months.

We start this month by looking at new requirements imposed on trustees for full disclosure of investment costs and charges in defined contribution schemes.  While these new Regulations come into force on 6 April 2018, parts of their application link to the first scheme year that ends on or after 6 April 2018.  That may give some trustees a little more time; nevertheless these requirements are matters that deserve early attention.

In the second article we turn to two more sets of Regulations; those around bulk transfers of members’ rights without their consent.  One set of Regulations will facilitate the consolidation of pension rights in defined contribution schemes by introducing three new routes to a bulk transfer of those rights (including making a bulk transfer to an authorised master trust), while another set solves the problem of making a bulk transfer of contracted-out rights now that it is no longer possible to set up a contracted-out scheme.

The next article looks at important pension reforms in the Republic of Ireland that include changes to the basis of the state pension and the introduction of an Irish form of automatic enrolment. 

Elsewhere in Compass we cover:

  • A delay of six months in the closure to new entrants of tax-efficient childcare vouchers schemes.
  • Parliamentary developments including the Chancellor’s Spring Statement and the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s findings on financial advice given to British Steel Pension Scheme members.
  • Further action by the Pensions Regulator in its enforcement duties.
  • A round up of other employee benefit news

Stop press: The Government published its White Paper ‘Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes’ and its response to consultation ‘Master Trust Authorisation and Supervision Regime’ just after the publication of Compass.  These will be reviewed in next month’s Compass and Spotlights will also be available shortly on these topics from your normal Capita contact.

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