Autor

Angela Sharma

Senior Counsel – Knowledge

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Autor

Angela Sharma

Senior Counsel – Knowledge

Read More

17. Januar 2024

Law at Work - January 2024 – 5 von 6 Insights

Pensions changes on the Horizon for 2024

  • Quick read

In 2023 a number of announcements were made about changes to pensions law that are expected to take place during 2024. In addition to proposals set out in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement (summarised here), some other significant developments we expect are:

  • Automatic enrolment: The vast majority of UK employers have to automatically enrol certain employees and other workers into an appropriate pension scheme. The Government has proposed that the qualifying age threshold for auto-enrolment will be reduced from 22 to 18, and to reduce or repeal the lower limit by reference to which contributions are calculated so that they will be based on the first pound of earnings instead. This will increase the number of employees who are saving for retirement, and increase employer costs. 
  • Lifetime Allowance: The Lifetime Allowance (which used to be the total amount of lifetime pension savings that can be built up without having to pay a tax charge) will be abolished from 6 April 2024. This change may well encourage retention and pension saving amongst senior employees who, where they were nearing the lifetime allowance, may have been contemplating retirement or at least opting out of their pension scheme. Where employers have implemented arrangements to allow employees to opt for additional pay instead of pension contributions (so as not to exceed the Lifetime Allowance) employers may wish to consider revisiting those arrangements (if they have not done so already).
  • General Code: All pension schemes will need to take action in advance of the Pensions Regulator's General Code coming into effect (expected March 2024). This is a consolidation of a large number of the Regulator's existing Codes of practice and includes new requirements in relation to scheme governance. Though a draft of the Code has been available for some time now (and indeed the Regulator has encouraged schemes to review compliance based on the draft) there will still be schemes which need to review and strengthen their processes and policies to ensure compliance in what is now a very short timescale.
  • Defined benefit pension schemes: Trustees of DB schemes are going to be grappling with a new scheme funding regime which is expected to come into force from April 2024, applying to triennial actuarial valuations from Autumn 2024. With a consultation response and a final version of these regulations still awaited, this will leave a very small window for schemes to get up to speed with the new regime (though a draft of the basic legal framework has been available for some time). Employers with DB schemes will want to understand the impact of the new regime as it relates to their funding obligations. 
  • Defined contribution pension schemes: For some time now "value for money" (VFM) has been a key consideration underpinning governance of DC pension schemes and, following a consultation last year, the DWP, Pensions Regulator and FCA confirmed that they would be moving ahead with the introduction of a new common framework under which DC pension schemes will have to assess and report on VFM on an annual basis. It is likely that schemes which are underperforming (and do not improve) may be subject to regulatory action. In particular, the Pensions Regulator may be given powers to consolidate schemes which are underperforming. This will be of interest to trustees and also employers who have their own DC scheme (ie are not participating in a master trust or GPP). The further governance burden (and cost) resulting from this change, together with the risk of regulatory intervention, are likely to drive consolidation of smaller (and standalone) schemes into master trusts in order to benefit from the systems and processes those schemes already have in place. Employers will have an interest in ensuring that any scheme chosen to replace their existing arrangement is capable of supporting the pensions aspects of their reward strategy. 
 
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