Tag Archives: pensions

GMP Equalisation Under the Microscope – Bulk Transfers Will Require Close Examination

The recent court ruling known as “Lloyds 3” answered lots of questions about the need to revisit past transfer payments, where those transfer payments had been calculated without taking into account the obligation to equalise benefits for the effect of unequal guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs). However, the more we look at Lloyds 3, which focused … Continue Reading

We’re Invested in What?

If you are a trustee, have you ever had one of those letters or emails questioning your investment strategy? I don’t mean questions about de-risking triggers, the security of counterparties or even strategic asset allocation queries, which are the stuff of trustee meetings. The type of enquiry I am referring to is the persistent member … Continue Reading

GMP Equalisation Under the Microscope – Focusing in on Data Gaps

“Big Data” is a topic that is frequently referred to in the news.  The traditional definition of Big Data is data that contains greater variety, arriving in increasing volumes and with ever-higher velocity.  Whilst this definition isn’t typically of direct relevance to trustees of UK occupational pension schemes, it does have some application in the … Continue Reading

GMP Equalisation Under the Microscope – Proactivity Under the Lens

GMP Equalisation and Underpaid Cash Equivalent Transfer Values – Will Trustees Have to Trace and Compensate Members Proactively, or Can Trustees Wait for Claims? Shortly after the High Court decision commonly referred to as “Lloyds 3”, which considered the issue of guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) equalisation and the extent to which past transfers out should be … Continue Reading

TPR Tightens the Governance Net in its New Code of Practice

If you were under the impression that the single code of practice would be a consolidation of existing codes, then the content of this blog will come as a surprise! The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published a consultation on the first phase of replacing the existing Codes of Practice with a single, online Code of … Continue Reading

CMA Order: Three Ways to Avoid Starting 2021 With a Fine!

UK pension scheme trustees must submit their first compliance statement, along with a certificate, directly to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by 7 January 2021. The compliance statement relates to obligations under the CMA Order issued in June 2019, including setting strategic objectives for investment consultants, which followed the conclusion of the CMA’s investigation … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court grants writ of certiorari on Railroad Retirement Tax Act issue

  The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to resolve a split between the Seventh and Eighth Circuits related to a federal program that is a well-kept secret. Nothing as intriguing as Russian spies or hacked emails… but, I think, interesting nonetheless. Of course, you have heard about the Social Security system. And you probably know … Continue Reading

U.S. tax reform – retirement plan provisions finalized

The tax reform bill is done.  President Trump signed the bill on December 22, meeting his deadline for completion by Christmas. While there is much to be said about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”), the update on the retirement plan provisions is relatively unexciting.  Recall that when the tax reform process started, … Continue Reading

VAT on pension costs – some good news!

It’s a while since we last commented on VAT on pensions but we return with some good news which HMRC have quietly slipped out in updated content to the VAT Manual. Back in 2014, following the PPG case, HMRC proposed withdrawing their practice of allowing employers to recover VAT on charges on administration costs for … Continue Reading

U.S. tax reform – 401(k) plans saved from the chopping block?

For the last few weeks, U.S. tax reform deliberations put 401(k) retirement plans on a roller coaster ride. Rumors abounded, including, for example, whether legislators would impose new contribution caps, or eliminate pre-tax contributions altogether.  Legislators often have targeted the tax-advantaged status of retirement savings plans as a revenue raiser to pay for federal programs … Continue Reading

Threat to 401(k) plans?

With U.S. tax reform on the horizon, there are some reports that lawmakers are considering limiting annual pretax contribution limits to 401(k) plans to $2,400.  The current tax code allows most workers to contribute up to $18,000 on a pretax basis to 401(k) plans.  At this time, it is uncertain whether there will be any … Continue Reading

Stuck on spin cycle – pensions and the money laundering regulations

In May we took the plunge and blogged about the forthcoming money laundering regulations (which seemed to have gone largely unnoticed until that point).  We highlighted some difficulties with the legislation and that it wasn’t entirely clear how they would apply to occupational pension plans.  Well, the final form regulations have arrived. They came into force … Continue Reading

FCA Asset Management Market Study

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its final Report on its asset management market study yesterday. Key findings include: Asset management – the report finds evidence of weak price competition and recommends a number of remedial strategies, including improved transparency and an extension of the senior managers’ regime. However, the FCA has rejected the idea of … Continue Reading

“Show Time!” for the US Labor Department’s Fiduciary Rule

It may be show time for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Fiduciary Rule (the “Rule”), but don’t expect an elaborate production.  Think frustrated, reluctant actors on a bare stage with no lights or scenery implementing the previous Administration’s regulatory approach to protecting retirees and retirement savings from conflicted investment advice. After a long and … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of ERISA exemption for church affiliated organizations

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in three cases that pension plans established by church affiliated organizations are “church plans” that are exempt from ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974).  The cases are Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, U.S., 6/5/17; Saint Peter’s Healthcare Sys. v. Kaplan, U.S., No. 16-86, 6/5/17; and … Continue Reading

BA pensions claim failed to fly but appeal to take off

So now we know, BA is not going to let things rest following its defeat in one of the biggest, most high profile and lengthy pensions cases in recent years. It is has been reported that it has sought and been granted leave to appeal. This was yet another case involving questions about indexation of … Continue Reading

Pensions & GDPR – the 12 month countdown begins!

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018.  Before that date, trustees of UK occupational pension plans will need to undertake some preparatory work, including: Creating records of all personal data processing activities (or confirming delegation to plan administrators and obtaining confirmation that they will do this) and ensuring administration … Continue Reading

Pension funds to benefit from further three year mandatory clearing exemption

Last week (4 May 2017), the European Commission published a legislative proposal to amend various provisions of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Regulation 648/2012) (EMIR). The proposal was adopted following a general report on EMIR published by the Commission in November 2016. Although the report indicated that “no fundamental change should be made to the … Continue Reading

We’ll CJEU in Court…or not!

The Upper Tribunal has rejected an application by the trustee of the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme for an expedited referral of its case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”). The Upper Tribunal decided that the unprecedented circumstances arising from the triggering of Article 50 did not alter its established test, … Continue Reading

Will the new money laundering regulations inspire pension plan spring cleaning?

New regulations, coming into force in June 2017, will introduce stricter EU anti-money laundering requirements into the UK and seem likely apply to pension plans. The potential criminal penalties for breach of the regulations are likely to bring this to the forefront of people’s minds. Will the new regulations apply to pension plan trustees?  Probably! … Continue Reading

Budget resolutions and the UK general election: what does it mean for pensions?

A client asked me a pertinent question yesterday, along the lines of: “Do the pensions changes announced in the last Budget still stand given that they are not yet enshrined in legislation and Parliament is soon to be dissolved?” The short and unhelpful answer is: “It depends…”  But what exactly does it depend upon? By … Continue Reading
LexBlog