Pensions - Articles - Comments after Pensions Schemes Bill gains Royal Assent

Industry comments from Sackers and Aegon after Pensions Schemes Bill gains Royal Assent

 Claire Carey’s, Partner, at Sackers: The most significant piece of pensions legislation in over a decade finally hit the statute books today. Several years in the making, the Pension Schemes Act 2021 will bolster TPR’s powers through new criminal and civil sanctions, compel DB trustees and employers to think longer term by introducing a new funding and investment strategy, and hopefully help curb pensions scams by imposing new restrictions on statutory transfers. 

 Whilst the bulk of the Act is largely unchanged from the Bill introduced into Parliament over a year ago, there were some interesting skirmishes during its passage through Parliament. The breadth of two of the new criminal sanctions were, for a time, a particular battle ground, having the potential to capture ordinary business activity, as well as a wide spectrum of people. Given TPR’s new regulatory big guns, we are likely to see a resurgence in the number of clearance applications, with parties to corporate activity or events seeking reassurance that its civil powers will not be unleashed.
 Much of the detail in the Act will be bulked out in regulations, and we await the all-important implementation dates.”

 Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon said: “Finally, after a long and winding road the Pensions Schemes Bill 2019-21 has received Royal Assent and becomes the Pension Schemes Act 2021. Delayed due to the triple whammy of Brexit, UK national elections and Covid-19, it’s had a bumpy ride.

 “This is a ground-breaking piece of legislation making pensions safer, better and greener. It will protect pension savers by giving the Pensions Regulator new stronger powers and tightens the rules around pension transfers giving greater protection against pension scams. It will make pensions greener, by compelling larger occupational schemes to report annually to their members and the public on their exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities. It’s also a massive leap forward in making pension dashboards a reality, helping people to reconnect with their pension savings. This is just the beginning as we’ll now see a raft of regulations over the next few months setting out the detail of how schemes will have to comply with the new rules.”

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