Pensions news

Week ending 24 May 2019

GMP data delay

HMRC has announced, in its latest Countdown Bulletin, a delay in the provision of GMP reconciliation data. It appears this may not be available until late November 2019.

New cost disclosure templates launched

The Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) has launched templates to help pension schemes obtain data on relevant costs and charges from their asset managers in a standardised way. The templates should make it easier for trustees to challenge costs and performance. The CTI expects the templates and associated guidance to be widely adopted by trustees and investment managers. The Pensions Minister has warned that legislation will follow if the industry does not act quickly enough.

Improvement to PPF benefits?

A German case being heard at the Court of Justice of the European Union could affect the level of benefits which the PPF provides. In the opinion of the Advocate General, the Insolvency Directive requires Member States to protect all of the pension benefits which are affected by an employer’s insolvency, not just part of them. If the full CJEU agrees, this could have a significant impact on PPF benefits (in particular the 90% factor and cap applied to non-pensioners and the limits on pension increases for all) and therefore on its funding. Of course, Brexit might also come into play here?

Phoenix’s PIE

The Phoenix Group ran a pension increase exchange exercise for pensioners of the Pearl Group Staff Pension Scheme, which resulted in 39% of eligible pensioners accepting the offer and a reduction of around £20 million in the Scheme’s liabilities.

More M&S spending

A further tranche of buy-ins has been completed by M&S, this time with PIC and Phoenix, totalling almost £1.4 billion. PIC insured around £900 million of liabilities for 10,700 pensioners, while Phoenix covered £460 million of benefits for 5,000 pensioners. The M&S scheme has now insured about 30% of its total liabilities.