Aries monitors every development in new and proposed legislation and official guidance.   Clients are kept up to date via the website, email alerts and tweets.   Aries serves as a one-stop source of intelligence on everything that is going on and coming up.   Aries doesn't miss anything of significance.

Here is a selection from our most recent headlines. You can get the fuller details by sending us an email - just click here to fire one off.

On Wednesday 25 July, Aries attended a workshop put on by HM Revenue & Customs at the offices of the Association of British Insurers, One America Square, London.

The subject was Manage and Register Pension Schemes (MRPS), HMRC's replacement for the Pension Schemes Online (PSO) administration service. Within HMRC, the new service is known as Pensions Online Digital Service or "PODS". Apparently, internal guidelines

stipulate that external names for systems must include at least one active verb. They went one better, but the acronym isn't quite as good.

The topics covered in the workshop included:

  • A reminder of MRPS service's current functionality
  • The next steps during phase one
  • An explanation of the data migration and associated data cleanse

  • A debate around HMRC's proposed scheme administrator delegation model
  • A look forward to phase two of the roll-out
  • A summary of the interim process for completing AFT Returns prior to roll-out on MRPS
  • A debate around other proposals for the service in phase two
  • The next steps during phase two
  • . . .

    09 Aug 2018  

    The latest Pension Schemes Newsletter leads with a reminder that HMRC has the power to de-register any scheme that is a Master Trust and does not receive or subsequently loses its TPR authorisation. The PSN goes on to remind applicants trying to register any pension scheme that there's no time limit for how long HMRC can take to consider such an application. However, if HMRC has not decided within six months, it is possible to appeal to a tribunal, as if HMRC has refused the application.

    A delay updating CWG 2: Further Guide to PAYE and National Insurance Contributions has been corrected.

    The pensions annual allowance calculator is now back online.

      Aries comment
      The output continues to confuse. The final column, for example, should be renamed 'Unused annual allowance carried forward to next year', instead of just 'Unused annual

    allowance'. An additional row at the top to state the available AA for the coming tax year would also be helpful. There is still no facility to print the calculations underlying the output. At Aries, we are continuing to collect user comments to feed back to HMRC.

    In relation to relief at source, application must be made based on residency status provided by HMRC. If this is not . . .

    03 Aug 2018  

    The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has published instructions and guidance for those involved in the defined contribution (DC) administration process.

    Key individuals from across the industry were invited to form the DC Governance Working Group (DCGWG), which has agreed five areas of focus. The guidance aims to support those with responsibility in:

    • Data and Record-keeping.
    • Decumulation.
    • Controls & Processes.
    • Management Information.
    • Transitions.

    The guidance sets a minimum standard of 'compliance' not limited to regulatory or legislative compliance. It is a level PASA expects to protect members' interests to a level that trustees, employers and members would naturally expect.

    PASA intends to refresh the guidance and build on the five areas, adding "hot topics".

    David Fairs, the Executive Director of Regulatory Policy at the Pensions Regulator (TPR), has supported the publication:

      "We welcome guidance like this from PASA, which outlines what the good administration of DC . . .

    03 Aug 2018  

    The House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision was set up on 9 May 2018 in response to the perception that young people in the UK have fewer opportunities and economic benefits than previous generations. At the same time, society is ageing, and people are working longer and retiring later.

    The Committee has invited the public to submit evidence for its wide-ranging inquiry across four key policy areas:

    • jobs and the workplace;
    • housing;
    • the role of communities; and
    • taxation.

    Launching the inquiry, Lord True, Chairman of the Committee, asked

    "Is Government paying enough attention to intergenerational fairness? Is Government planning sufficiently long-term to take account of the impact of policy choices on different generations

    and over time? How will decisions today affect future generations?"

    - questions that many pensions professionals will have asked themselves.

    The inquiry is asking:

    • Is the intergenerational settlement in the UK currently fair? Which generations are better off or . . .

    03 Aug 2018  

    Following its April 2018 report on Pension Freedoms, the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has today launched a new inquiry seeking views on whether the pensions industry provides sufficient transparency around charges, investment strategy and performance to consumers.

    The Inquiry will examine whether enough is being done to ensure individuals:

    • get value for money for their pension

  • understand what they are being charged and why;
  • understand the short- and long-term impact of costs on retirement outcomes;
  • can see how their money is being invested and how their investments are performing;
  • are engaged enough to use information about costs and investments to make informed choices about their pension savings; and
  • get good-value, impartial service

  • from financial advisers.

    Aries comment
    We imagine the answer to each of these questions is already 'no'; the interesting bit will be the extent to which realistic proposals for improvement are made.

    The Committee invites evidence from all interested parties on the following . . .

    03 Aug 2018