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What's New in GPT

Items that were proposed but did not make the cut include:

Welcome to the latest updated version of The Guide for Pension Trustees – July 2018

The Guide for Pension Trustees aims to keep its readers up to date with changes in legislation and regulation, and with developments in practice, that affect pension trustees and others concerned in the management of pensions.

GDPR is here!

Pension scheme trustees, like all other data controllers, have been busy over the past few months getting ready for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to go live on 25 May. The Guide has contained guidance on this subject for some time now and has been updated as and when this developing subject has moved on. The latest developments have recently emerged in the form of legislation to create new regulation-making powers, which is highlighted in the latest update.

This serves to remind us – if indeed any reminder were needed – of the complexity of the subject, and the large number of related, knock-on effects that have to be addressed. Since the regime is an EU-driven system, no doubt further consequences will follow from Brexit. Although the UK will no longer be part of the EU, European legislation will still impact upon how data is managed in the UK. Depending upon exactly what our relationship is with the EU following our exit, we can expect to continue to be affected by this but in ways that are not yet clear. The Guide will continue to follow this issue closely and keep readers appraised of their obligations.

Scams continue

It is sad, but perhaps inevitable, that the large capital sums involved in private pension provision will attract fraudsters. Unfortunately, the criminals are able to be flexible and innovative and the potential gains will always encourage them to put in the effort to stay ahead of the authorities. Nevertheless, welcome new legislation is being introduced to give the authorities more powers to fight back by closing loopholes exploited by the scammers.

A key weapon in the arsenal will be the forthcoming ban on unsolicited direct marketing of pensions. However, given the ease with which criminals switch methods when one is closed off, it is disappointing that apparently the new regulations will not apply to face-to-face cold-calling.

Member understanding

In this perilous world it is vital for members to have a good understanding of their pension arrangements and the options that are – and are not – legitimately open to them. The new, proposed, single financial guidance body is a welcome development that should assist trustees in ensuring their fiduciary responsibilities towards their members are fully discharged.

New consolidator schemes

Trustees will also be interested in the new commercial consolidator schemes that are starting to emerge. These are a response to the growing movement to reduce the number of occupational schemes in the UK. The movement is controversial, and not all trustees will feel happy at the prospect of losing their scheme and its members to a larger, aggregator arrangement. Nevertheless, trustees should be aware of developments in this area, and to understand what their obligations will be in the event that their scheme becomes a candidate for transfer to one of the new consolidators.

New items covered in The Guide

Apart from continuing general updating and tidying, there have been a few specific updates made to The Guide since the last update, reflecting changes that have occurred over the period.

Finance Act 2018

The pensions aspects of this Act involve new provisions for the registration, or continuing of registration, of schemes. These are in response to the growing abuse of schemes to facilitate scams.

There is also an extension to the definition of a master trust for the purposes of ensuring full coverage of the forthcoming money purchase master trusts regulation regime. [See 2.23] 

Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018

This Act formally establishes the new single financial guidance body, expected to be in place by the end of 2018. It will take on the guidance roles currently sitting with the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.

The Act also confers broad powers upon the Secretary of State to make regulations to ban unsolicited direct marketing of pensions. This is part of wider powers to regulate consumer financial products and services generally, aimed at giving the Secretary of State the ability to act quickly against scams as and when new variants are identified. [See 2.24] 

Data Protection Act 2018

This Act contains enabling powers to allow the Secretary of State to make regulations in respect of the processing of individuals’ data under the new GDPR regime, which commenced on 25 May 2018. [See 2.25 for reference to the Act, and updated 10.10.6 for details of GDPR]

New DWP Guidance

The Department for Work and Pensions has published new guidance for trustees on bulk transfers without member consent for money purchase benefits that do not have guarantees. [See 17.3.3]

New consolidation schemes

The current extensive public discussion of the alleged benefits of reducing the number of individual pension schemes through consolidation is generating new commercial arrangements. The Guide has been updated to acknowledge this movement and the fact that new developments are occurring. [See 16.3.5

HMRC service update

The May update of the Guide drew attention to HMRC’s new service to register and manage pension schemes. The commencement date of the new service was delayed, and the Guide has been updated appropriately to reflect that. [See 23.6.5(vi) Note]

PASA mediation service commencement date

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) previously announced their intention to introduce a new service providing mediation in respect of problems incurred when schemes change their administrator. This service commenced on a pilot basis from 1 June 2018. [See 8.1.7]

I hope you find the updates useful.

Kevin LeGrand

If you have any questions about this Update, please contact the Helpdesk on 0800 980 1332, or email

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