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Four more master trusts get regulator’s green light

Four more master trusts get regulator’s green light

The Pensions Regulator has authorised four more master trusts, bringing the total number of registered schemes to 10.

The Pensions Trust, Fidelity, Standard Life and Stanplan A received green light, while other 29 workplace pension schemes are still waiting for approval.

Previously, TPR had already authorised another six master trusts - BlueSky Pension Scheme, the Crystal Trust, Legal & General WorkSave Mastertrust, Legal & General WorkSave Mastertrust (RAS), LifeSight, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Under the new registration process, master trusts have to hold enough capital to cover the cost of a worst-case scenario, such as the cost of transferring to another scheme or of winding up, without charging members.

Mike Ramsey, chief executive of TPT Retirement Solutions – in charge of The Pensions Trust – said receiving authorisation “acknowledges TPT’s ability to meet the ever-increasing regulation required to improve governance and protect member benefits”.

The scheme, with more than 2,600 employers and 222,000 members, has some £1.4bn in assets under management.

James Carter, head of pension products at Fidelity International, said the provider fully supports the authorisation regime which "requires master trusts to evidence the highest levels of governance". 

He said: "The success of auto-enrolment, in bringing people into pension saving, needed to be protectedby ensuring schemes being used are suitably governed and financially supported. 

“In the modern world pension schemes need to not only govern well and in the best interests of members, but also be able to demonstrate they are doing so. The master trust market continues to grow quickly and we are extremely pleased to have achieved authorisation."

The government and the regulator had been discussing the new master trust rules since 2016 and were expecting them to drive consolidation in the market.

The change in legislation has prompted more than half of the 81 master trusts operating in the market in January 2018 to leave, partly because they realised their business could no longer be classed as a master trust, while some others entered.

A master trust is a multi-employer occupational scheme where each employer has its own division within the master arrangement. They have become a popular solution for employers seeking to fulfil their auto-enrolment obligations in recent years.

From October 1, 2018, master trusts had until March 31, 2019 to apply to the TPR for authorisation to demonstrate that they have met required standards.

As of May 31, 10 schemes have exited the market, and 35 other master trusts decided to close and are in the process of transferring their members to an alternative master trust scheme or other appropriate vehicle.

FTAdviser reported in June Prudential was one of the providers which decided to wind up its master trusts, as it is focusing on the migration of its administration platform.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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