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As we transitioned from July into August, the pensions industry moved to release a number of useful guidance documents:

Implementing Implementation Statements

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published very useful guidance to help trustees navigate new disclosure requirements in force from 1 October 2020.

The new duties require 'relevant schemes' (occupational DC / hybrid schemes) to make publicly available a Statement of Investment Principles (SIP) which sets out how trustees make strategic investment decisions, and an annual Implementation Statement which describes their voting and engagement behaviours and also illustrates how their strategic aims have been enacted in practice.

DB-only schemes (including those whose only money purchase benefits are

Additional Voluntary Contributions) are also obliged to publish their SIP and produce an Implementation Statement, although the content of the Implementation Statement has a narrower scope, focusing on voting behaviour and the undertaking of engagement activities (stewardship policies) during the year.

The guidance notes that if an occupational pension scheme has both DB and . . .

07 Aug 2020  

Pension Freedoms

HMRC's latest Pension Schemes Newsletter, published today, includes quarterly pension flexibility statistics for 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. These show that in Q2 this year HMRC processed:

  • 752 P50Z forms;
  • 1,709 P53Z forms; and
  • 5,188 P55 forms.

The forms should be used where -

Form P50Z:

i) The individual has taken a flexible payment that uses up all of their pension pot (i.e. they have extinguished their entire fund as a UFPLS), and
ii) They have no other income for the tax year.

Form P53Z:

i) The individual has taken a flexible payment that uses up all of their pension pot (i.e. they have extinguished their entire

fund as a UFPLS), and
ii) They have other taxable income for the tax year.

Form P55:

i) The individual has taken a flexible payment that only uses up part of their pension pot, and
ii) They have only taken one payment and will not be taking regular payments from the scheme in the same tax year, . . .

31 July 2020  

The Finance Act 2020 was given Royal Assent on 22 July 2020.

Relevant to pensions is Section 22 'Annual allowance: tapered reduction'. With effect from 6 April 2020, the Tapered Annual Allowance (TAA) will affect anyone with 'threshold income' over £200,000, reducing their AA by £1 for every £2 that their 'adjusted income' exceeds £240,000. The maximum reduction will be £36,000: individuals whose 'adjusted income' is £312,000 or more will be subject to a TAA

of just £4,000. This is the same limit as the Money Purchase Annual Allowance.

A late addition made at the Report Stage is Section 108 'Protected pension age of members re-employed as a result of coronavirus'. It ensures that those who have retired at an age below the current normal minimum pension age of 55, but return to employment to support the coronavirus response, retain the benefit of their protected pension age and do not suffer unauthorised payment

tax charges on their pension benefits.

Amendments made under s.108 are treated as in force on 1 March 2020 and have effect until the end of the "coronavirus period" on 1 November 2020. There is provision for this end date to be changed to another date falling before 6 April 2021.

The Finance Bill production line doesn't stop with this latest Act: . . .

28 July 2020  

After considering the year ahead via its Corporate Plan for 2020/21, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) now takes a look back at the previous year with the publication of its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-2020, trumpeting the successes over the past financial year of its "quick, clear and tough approach":

  • Completing the national roll out of automatic enrolment (AE) duties to employers with 98% of eligible jobholders now in a

qualifying scheme (more than 10.2 million people).

  • 38 master trusts have been authorised meaning 16 million members and £38.5 billion are in better-protected schemes.

  • Direct contact with more schemes than ever through its supervisory approach.

  • Deficit repair contributions up £11.4 billion and average length of

recovery plans re-submitted to TPR falling from 7.5 years to 7.1 years.

  • Initiating four regulatory initiatives, driving up standards in record-keeping and balancing deficit repair contributions and investment governance.

  • A rapid and controlled response to the COVID-19 . . .

25 July 2020  

In the latest Managing Pension Schemes Service Newsletter, HMRC has revealed an update on the Accounting for Tax (AFT) functionality that allows scheme administrators to use the service to:

  • make amendments to returns that you submit on the service;

  • see the what's changed from the previous submitted version of the


  • search your returns for a member; and

  • request payment refunds or reallocations relating to AFT returns you submitted through the Managing Pension Schemes service.

AFT returns for the quarter 1 April - 30 June 2020 that have been compiled and saved on the service can now be submitted to meet the filing deadline

of 14 August 2020. Following submission, an online notification will be received confirming receipt.

It will also be possible to make amendments to any AFT returns submitted through the service.

It is also now possible to compile and save new AFT returns for the quarter 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020 and once the quarter has ended, these can be . . .

24 July 2020