Pensions  

Pension trustees told to book guidance as early as possible

Pension trustees told to book guidance as early as possible

The Pensions Regulator has advised trustees to book a Pension Wise appointment for savers wishing to access their savings as early as possible in the process.

The new rules, which come into force in June, require trustees to offer to book a Pension Wise appointment for members who want to access their flexible pension benefits or transfer them to another scheme to access them.

If they decline the offer or the scheme is unable to book a suitably convenient appointment they the scheme must give savers details of how to book an appointment themselves.

TPR has now published guidance for trustees on how they should go about this.

It said: "You must not proceed with their application until you have confirmation from the member that they have received guidance or opted out from receiving guidance. It is therefore good practice to offer to book a Pension Wise appointment as early as possible in the process.

"Additionally, trustees may wish to consider encouraging members to take some time to fully consider their decision before confirming that they wish to opt out."

Trustees must also record whether a member has either received guidance or opted out, but the regulator highlighted that as long as the criteria detailed in the guidance is fully met, schemes can choose which forms of communication best suit their members.

TPR said: "If the affected member declines guidance, you must explain the process for opting out, which involves the member generally confirming in a separate communication with you that they do not wish to take Pension Wise guidance, although certain exemptions apply.

"You must also confirm that you are unable to progress with their application until you have received the opt out."

TPR said that if a member does not provided the scheme with an opt out notification or confirmation they have received guidance from Pension Wise, and they contact the scheme again to make an application for access or transfer for access, then trustees must go through the process again from the beginning.

maria.espadinha@ft.com