UK: Winding Up Occupational Pension Schemes - Pensions In 30 Podcasts, Episode 20

Winding up an occupational pension scheme means that the scheme will come to an end, the trustees will collect in the scheme's assets and distribute them for the benefit of the scheme's beneficiaries. Episode 20 of Pensions in 30 Podcasts provides an overview of the issues that arise with winding up pension schemes.

Subscribe via iTunes

Download the fact sheet here.

KEY POINTS

  • Winding up an occupational pension scheme means that the scheme will come to an end, the trustees will collect in the scheme's assets and distribute them for the benefit of the scheme's beneficiaries.
  • The trustees will need to carry out data reconciliation of member records.
  • Benefits may be secured by transferring benefits to another scheme and/or by buying annuities with an insurance company.
  • The trustees must notify The Pensions Regulator of the scheme wind up.
  • Where a defined benefit scheme is in deficit upon wind up, an "employer debt" may become payable under s75 of the Pension Act 1995.
  • If wind up is triggered because an employer suffers an insolvency event, it may enter a PPF assessment period and ultimately go into the PPF.

MAIN SOURCES

  • Pension Schemes Act 1993
  • Pensions Act 1995
  • Pensions Act 2004
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up) Regulations 1996
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up Notices and Reports etc) Regulations 2002
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up etc) Regulations 2005

Winding up an occupational pension scheme means that the scheme will come to an end, the trustees will collect in the scheme's assets and distribute them for the benefit of the scheme's beneficiaries. There are two key stages:

  • the circumstances which trigger a wind up of the scheme; and
  • the process of winding up the scheme and securing benefits for members, such as by purchasing annuities for members or transferring their benefits to another scheme.

WIND UP TRIGGERS

The events that will trigger the wind up of an occupational pension scheme are generally set out in the scheme's trust deed and rules. Wind up may be triggered on purpose, for example by an employer serving notice on the trustees. An employer might do this because it has decided to replace its trust based scheme with a cheaper contract based scheme. Alternatively, wind up might be triggered as a consequence of the employer's insolvency or if the employer stops paying contributions to the scheme.

Independently of the scheme rules, The Pensions Regulator may trigger wind up in certain circumstances, although this rarely happens and only where the Regulator perceives a real threat to benefits.

Once wind up has been triggered, existing members will not accrue any further benefits (if accrual is still continuing) under the scheme and no new members may join. Contributions also cease from both employers and employees. Scheme rules may (or may not) limit trustees' powers to operate the scheme. Some schemes' rules may allow trustees to defer winding up and run the scheme as a closed scheme.

Employer debt

If a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme is in deficit on winding up, a debt may became payable under section 75 of the Pensions Act 1995. The debt is calculated on a 'buyout' basis, ie the cost of securing members' benefits by buying annuities from an insurer. Where the trustees run the scheme as a closed scheme, the date of calculating the section 75 debt may be postponed.

Pension Protection Fund (PPF)

If an employer of a DB scheme suffers an insolvency event and wind up is triggered, PPF compensation may be payable to members. The PPF works with the scheme's trustees to determine if the scheme is eligible to pass into the PPF. This is essentially based on the funding level of a scheme on the PPF's statutory basis.

If the scheme is potentially eligible, it will go through a PPF assessment period. The scheme's assets and liabilities are valued to see whether the scheme can pay member benefits at or above PPF levels. If it cannot, the scheme will transfer to the PPF and the PPF will take over the administration of the scheme from the trustees.

WIND UP PROCESS

Priority order for securing members' benefits

The trustees must collect in the scheme's assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries according to a statutory priority order. If any assets are left over they should be distributed according to any order set out in the trust deed and rules.

Statute and a scheme's rules will usually govern the position if there is a surplus or a deficit by reference to the scheme's benefits.

Two common ways of securing benefits on wind up are buying annuities for members with an insurance company and transferring their benefits to another pension scheme. Statute sets out the ways in which benefits can be secured to discharge the trustees and should be read alongside the scheme's rules.

Provision of information

Trustees must notify The Pensions Regulator of the scheme wind up. They must also provide certain specified information to members and beneficiaries within one month of beginning wind up and provide updates every 12 months. The Pensions Regulator expects schemes which are winding up to complete the key activities within two years. Where a scheme has been winding up for more than two years, trustees must notify The Pensions Regulator and provide it with updates every 12 months.

Data reconciliation

The trustees will need to take steps to identify contact addresses for all members (who have not already been provided with an annuity or deferred annuity). They will need to carry out data reconciliation of member records to ensure the trustees have the necessary information to determine benefits and of contracting-out records (if a scheme has been contracted-out for any period). This can be particularly time consuming.

Trustee protection

Trustees should seek protection against untraced (but identified) beneficiaries claiming benefits and other claims made after the scheme has wound up and has no assets. This is because the trustees may be personally liable in respect of claims once they can no longer rely on a scheme's exoneration and indemnity clauses and the assets of the scheme have been distributed. Trustees may seek protection against any future liabilities in the form of insurance and/or an indemnity from the employer, if available.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions