The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has issued what might be the first of several coronavirus announcements. The first announcement provides information for trustees who are seeking to certify or re-certify contingent assets before the 31 March deadline. With immediate effect, trustees who are required to submit hard copy documents with their contingent asset certification/re-certification, should instead scan and send copies of those documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. The file size needs to be less than 10MB. If you need to split the documents in order to achieve an acceptable file size, you should make clear that the documents are linked.
Whilst the PPF is not able to change the deadlines set out in the rules it has said that if trustees submit documentation late, owing to key individuals self-isolating or being ill, the PPF will consider the circumstances and may grant an extension to the deadline.
The PPF has also said that it will accept e-signatures in respect of PPF specific documents, such as officers’ certificates. For other documents that are intended to be legally binding beyond the PPF’s requirements, such as contingent asset agreements, electronic signing may be possible.
We would recommend that if at all possible, trustees should meet the 31 March deadline, and ideally with some time to spare, to ensure that last moment problems can be addressed and avoid any difficulty should the PPF not agree that the circumstances merit the relaxing of deadline. The electronic flexibility is certainly helpful, provided of course that you have facilities to scan documentation if you are working remotely.
Please contact your usual member of the Squire Patton Boggs’ Pensions team for further information and/or advice.