Pensions: what's new this week September 2021

Allen & Overy LLP

Welcome to your weekly update from the Allen & Overy Pensions team, covering all the latest legal and regulatory developments in the world of occupational pensions.

This week we cover topics including: a Covid-19 extension for the PPF levy; updated trust registration guidance from HMRC; and the latest HMRC Pension Schemes.

  • PPF levy: Covid-19 extension
  • HMRC updates trust registration guidance
  • Latest HMRC newsletter
  • Sustainability and UK pension schemes: new climate change governance and reporting regulations
  • Save the Date: Investing pension funds sustainably – a lawyer and provider’s view

PPF levy: Covid-19 extension

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has announced that it may grant a longer interest-free period for the payment of levy invoices where there are difficulties caused by Covid-19; it also offered this support last year.

The easement is subject to the PPF being satisfied with an application, and the interest waiver cannot be confirmed until after the levy has been paid. The PPF’s policy intention is that, where it is satisfied with an application, interest will be waived as long as the levy is paid within 90 days.

Read the announcement.

HMRC updates trust registration guidance

HMRC has updated its guidance on Trust Registration Service (TRS) requirements (relating to compliance with anti-money laundering rules), including the extension of TRS registration to certain in-scope express trusts. This follows regulations made last year to implement the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD).

As a result of the changes it is possible that some pension schemes that are not registered schemes under the Finance Act 2004 and that have not previously had to register on TRS (due to not triggering relevant tax charges) may now need to do so by the appropriate deadline as set out in the guidance – please contact your usual Allen & Overy adviser if you would like to discuss this further.

The guidance also now provides a more detailed list of the types of trusts that are NOT required to register with HMRC via the TRS, including:

  • trusts used to hold money or assets of a UK registered pension scheme, such as an occupational pension scheme;
  • trusts used to hold life or retirement policies providing that the policy only pays out on death, terminal or critical illness or permanent disablement, or to meet the healthcare costs of the person assured; and
  • trusts holding insurance policy benefits received after the death of the person assured, as long as the benefits are paid out from the trust within 2 years of the death.

Read the updated guidance.

Latest HMRC newsletter

HMRC’s latest Pension Schemes Newsletter (no. 132) includes a reminder about issuing pensions saving statements to members, plus notes for schemes operating relief at source about submitting annual claims and reporting excess relief. It also has further updates on the migration of pension schemes to the Managing Pension Schemes service (including action points for some administrators).

Read the newsletter.

Sustainability and UK pension schemes: new climate change governance and reporting regulations

New climate change duties for UK occupational pension schemes come into force on 1 October 2021. Each morning this week we will publish an article discussing specific aspects of the new regime (knowledge and understanding requirements; governance and risk management; scenario analysis; metrics and targets; reporting and disclosure). If you normally receive What’s New This Week by email, these should come to you directly, but if you or a colleague would like to register your interest for these mailings separately, please click the link below.

Register for our Pensions TCFD mailings.

Save the Date: Investing pension funds sustainably – a lawyer and provider’s view – 11am on 28 September 2021

With over GBP2.4 trillion of investments held by UK occupational pension schemes, it’s easy to see why ever-increasing sustainability obligations for pension schemes are an essential part of the UK government’s drive to net-zero, putting pressure on trustees to invest sustainably. But what are the legal requirements trustees need to consider when making sustainable investment decisions and how can they achieve a sustainable strategy that isn’t to the detriment of financial return?

In this webinar, Matt Townsend, Co-Head of Allen & Overy’s Sustainability Working Group, will chair a session with Jessica Kerslake, Partner in Allen & Overy’s Pensions team, and Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors. Jessica will outline the latest legal requirements and the factors trustees must consider. Steve will set out the steps Aviva has taken to navigate these legal requirements, reaching positive sustainable investment decisions based on financial factors and creating one of the UK’s first default investment strategies that incorporates both ethical and ESG considerations.

Invitations will be sent out shortly; we hope you can join us.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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