The Pensions Brief: May 2024

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As a result of Parliament being dissolved ahead of the General Election, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, which makes a range of changes to the UK's data protection regime...
UK Employment and HR
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Dates to note over the next 12 months


Issues affecting all schemes

General Election – impact on pensions legislation

As a result of Parliament being dissolved ahead of the General Election, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, which makes a range of changes to the UK's data protection regime, will not proceed. (The Bill can be re-laid in a future parliamentary session if the new government wishes.)

In addition, it will not now be possible for the new DB funding code to be laid before Parliament in time for it to come into force by 22 September 2024.

No action required.

New lump sum regime – transitional tax-free amount certificates

HMRC has announced that it has launched a tool that individuals can use to check whether they can apply for a transitional tax-free amount certificate. The announcement also sets out the information that a transitional tax-free amount certificate must contain.

No action required.

Pensions Ombudsman – operating model improvements

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has announced planned changes to reduce waiting times and improve customer service following a review of its operating model. TPO plans to prioritise three key areas:

  • The conditions for the Resolution Team being able to investigate a complaint will be tightened and will require complainants to demonstrate that they have exhausted the respondent's formal complaints process.
  • TPO will extend the use of short-form decisions and determinations for appropriate cases.
  • TPO will explore whether there are certain categories of complaints that are more appropriately dealt with by other organisations and whether a de minimis threshold should be applied in some circumstances.

The full programme of changes will be delivered over the next three years, but TPO is aiming to achieve an improved position over the next 12-18 months.

No action required.

Pensions dashboards – data standards

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has published FAQs on the updated data standards that it published recently. The FAQs cover:

  • What data standards are, what they cover and to whom they apply.
  • How to see what has changed from the previous version, and how changes are made.
  • Whether the PDP will produce supporting materials for dashboards connection.

No action required.

Issues affecting DB schemes

Benefit equalisation – retrospective amendments

TPO has rejected a complaint that amendments to a scheme to equalise benefits by retrospectively increasing normal retirement date (NRD) for female members were invalid. The scheme's rules were amended in November 1992 to increase the NRD for female members from 60 to 65 with effect from January 1991. TPO decided that:

  • The scheme's rules permitted retrospective amendments and did not prohibit detrimental changes to accrued benefits.
  • The statutory restrictions on amendments to accrued pension rights did not apply to amendments made prior to 6 April 1997.

No action required.

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This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

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