Defined Benefit  

Regulator brings back DB transfer delay reports

Regulator brings back DB transfer delay reports

Trustees must report any delays in defined benefit transfers to the Pensions Regulator from next month as activities begin to return to normal levels.

The regulator has updated its Covid-19 guidance today (June 16) outlining that from July 1, DB schemes will have to resume reporting any delays when calculating cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs).

Previous TPR guidance had allowed schemes to delay new member requests for transfer quotations by up to three months.

This was after market volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic made calculating CETVs more time consuming as trustees found it difficult to be sure of the underlying value of the pension funds.

But as more normal levels of activity have resumed in the DB transfer market, trustees must now follow guidelines in place prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Charles Counsell, TPR's chief executive, said: "Covid-19 has had a huge impact on us all and so during this unprecedented time we have continued to listen and talk to trustees and employers.

"In making decisions on regulatory action, we will continue to do so on a case-by-case basis and take a flexible and pragmatic approach where breaches are Covid-19 related.

"As such, we feel the resumption of some reporting is now important.”

Consultancy LCP said it has seen the number of member requests to transfer out of DB pension schemes return to normal levels in recent weeks.

Last week it received 38 transfer requests which was the highest weekly figure since mid March but it still remained below the average of 49 for the first 10 weeks of 2020 before lockdown started.

Payment failures

TPR also confirmed today that the extension of the period in which schemes must report payment failures will remain in place until September to give trustees and providers more time to work with employers to bring payments up to date.

The reporting period had been extended from 90 days to 150 days in March, which will be reviewed at the end of September.

Mr Counsell said: "We are determined to help where we can by taking a pragmatic approach while remaining focused on the need to protect savers.

"The information we issued in March and April remains relevant and today’s updated guidance outlines how we are continuing to support schemes in these challenging times."

amy.austin@ft.com

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