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The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been quizzed
by the Work and Pensions Committee about the organisation's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As the published transcript
shows, there were several breaks in transmission of the physically-distanced responses, but here are the central themes emanating from the discussion:
Q. Explain exactly what is meant by "a proportionate and risk-based approach towards enforcement decisions...with
the aim of supporting both employers and savers".
A. The commitment throughout has been to protect pension savers, and to be clear and quick in issuing guidance to trustees. Focus was also on automatic enrolment (AE) and employer duties. Scheme providers have received various easements including an extended period for reporting contribution failures.
Q. Is there much falling away of automatic
update provided in the next PSN.
This PSN asks that HMRC be contacted if a relief at source repayment claim has been submitted, or needs to be, and the claim includes tax relief given to a scheme member, and that member is unable to get a National Insurance number because of the suspension.
Submitting the APSS107 Registered pension schemes annual statistical return without a signature
HMRC acknowledges that COVID-19 may make it difficult for scheme administrators to obtain signatures on the APSS107
'Registered pension schemes annual statistical return'. "For now", HMRC will accept APSS107 returns without a signature.
The PSN then returns to normal, non-COVID-19, service:
Contacting HMRC's Pension Schemes . . .
28 May 2020
After recent bleak news
for the SIPP industry, and not forgetting the Berkeley Burke
case, the judgment handed down this week in the high-profile Adams v Carey case should ease the pain somewhat. Hundreds of outstanding complaints and cases against SIPP providers have been hanging on this case.
Now known as Russell Adams v Options SIPP (or more fully Russell David Edward Adams v Options Sipp UK LLP and The Financial Conduct Authority 
), the case sought to establish potential liability of an execution-only SIPP provider (Options SIPP UK LLP, formerly Carey Pensions UK LLP
) to an investor whose investment in the SIPP - made with funds transferred from an insured personal pension and on the recommendation of an unregulated introducer - suffered significant losses.
The basis for the case was a claimed breach of the regulatory regime in establishing the SIPP early in 2012, as a
result of the acts of the introducer, rendering the SIPP "unenforceable"
under section 27
of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
. Secondly, there was a claimed breach of the Financial Conduct Authority's Conduct of Business Sourcebook (COBS) which requires the provider to act "honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its client" (COBS 2.1.1
). Thirdly, there was the claim . . .
22 May 2020
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has updated its guidance
for trustees on defined contribution (DC) scheme management and investment.
The new section is titled 'When does the temporary closure of funds create a default arrangement?'. It considers the possible situation where some trustees have redirected, to alternative funds, some members' self-selected investment in funds that have temporarily closed (or been 'gated') until the market 'normalises'.
TPR warns this could result in the alternative funds becoming default arrangements and therefore becoming subject to legal requirements such as the charge cap (if the scheme is used for automatic enrolment) and the requirement to have a statement of investment principles for that default arrangement. TPR suggests legal advice may be required to assess whether this is the case. The position will depend on how the members made the choice to select the investment: were they aware and did