Rainy Grey Cloud

Getting started on a project is often the most difficult part. If I put off doing something (personally or professionally) the task looms over me like a little black cloud, and somehow that cloud seems to get bigger every time it enters my thought process. In a cartoon-like manner, the cloud starts to follows me around, getting darker and threatening rain. It then starts to multiply.

If you are a pension scheme trustee or a pensions manager, The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) single code of practice could be something that is looming over you in a similar way. TPR’s interim response to its consultation was short and sweet. We know that TPR is dropping its proposed 20% limit on unregulated investments due to the unintended impact on some large pension schemes. We also know that it is reconsidering aspects of the Own Risk Assessment and it is exploring how the single code could be better presented for public service schemes. Additionally, we know that the single code is now expected to be laid before parliament in spring 2022 and to become effective in summer 2022. But the main thing that we know, is that there is a lot to do, and all schemes will need to assess where they stand in terms of compliance and plan how to fill the gaps. Juggling this with the many and varied other commitments that you have, means that it will be a long-term project.

Where should you start, when should you start, and how should you go about it? One of the key issues to consider is the concept of “proportionality”. If you have a well-governed pension scheme with existing policies, practices and procedures that work well, how much extra should you do? Is it necessary to change what already works for your scheme, or should you focus on the areas that are new? In short, where should you concentrate your efforts?

It is worth taking a step back before you move forwards. The draft code references over 50 policy and procedure documents, so get your legal advisers to sharpen their pencils and get their view on “how much is enough” at an early stage. This should save time and effort in the long run. Our one page roadmap should help you to get started. Time to scatter the dark clouds?