DWP consults on changes for pension schemes

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16 Nov, 2015

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a consultation on a number of changes for pension schemes to take effect from April 2016.

The consultation includes draft amending regulations which make changes to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Requirement to obtain Audited Accounts and a Statement from the Auditor) Regulations 1996 (the “AA regulations”).

The changes propose to:

  • delete most of the detailed investment disclosure information set out in the AA regulations and require the auditor to provide a statement that the accounts have been prepared in accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS 102) and the pensions Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), noting any material departures from them; and
  • exempt multi-employer schemes with at least 20 participating employers from the requirement to obtain a statement from the scheme auditors on whether, in their opinion, contributions have been paid in accordance with the scheme’s schedule.

The consultation also seeks views on amendments to the governance requirements for occupational pension schemes providing money purchase benefits.  New governance requirements were introduced in April 2015 by way of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Charges and Governance) Regulations 2015 (“the governance regulations”).  These regulations inserted provisions into the Occupational Pension Schemes (Scheme Administration) Regulations 1996 and the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations 2005.  The governance regulations also introduced additional governance requirements for relevant multi-employer schemes.  However, since the regulations have come into force the DWP has received representations from industry representatives and legal firms on how the governance provisions for multi-employer schemes work in practice and the implications for schemes. 

The consultation seeks views on a set of draft regulations which will address these concerns, and also include some tidying-up provisions to ensure that these governance requirements work as intended.

Additionally views are sought on:

  • How information about investments in pension schemes is, and can be, made available to beneficiaries.
  • How to reduce regulatory burdens on occupational pension schemes.

Comments are requested until 9 December 2015.

The press release and full consultation are available on the DWP website.

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