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16 June 2021

The Pension Schemes Act 2021 – a tougher regime lies ahead

Pension schemes have been front page news for the past few years, with criticism of sponsoring employers or wealthy individuals “walking away” from their pension schemes – think of Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and the BHS saga, or the position of Carillion’s schemes following that company’s insolvency.

These stories have attracted mainstream attention in both the media and Parliament. In turn, that has led to criticism of The Pensions Regulator’s perceived failure to protect the members of those schemes; and its supposed “lack of teeth” to deal with companies or individuals that neglect their pension schemes, leading to greater calls on the Pension Protection Fund.

The new Act gives TPR a sharper and more intimidating set of fangs to bring companies and individuals into line, and to make sure that pension schemes are front and centre in corporate decision-making. Board decisions that are seemingly unrelated to pensions will need to be viewed through the filter of the Act – or the companies or individuals taking them will run the risk of significant civil and criminal sanctions. In our talk we will consider in particular:

  • Where do the new powers for TPR leave trustees? How can you use these powers to increase your leverage at the negotiating table, whether that’s in the context of scheme funding, corporate activity or, in extremis, a restructuring scenario.
  • What do the new criminal sanctions mean for trustees – the Act puts in place five new, specific offences that attract a criminal sanction, four of which can result in imprisonment, and can be imposed on any person. How can trustees protect themselves from the risk of such sanctions?
  • Will the new powers change the way corporates treat and interact with their DB pension schemes? Will there be increased engagement? At an earlier stage in the process? Will there be an increase in clearance applications to TPR
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Last update: 29 April 2021

Mark Jenkins
Mark Jenkins
Partner, Pensions

Associate DB Pensions Consultant, 2 days from home

Salary: £30000 - £40000 pa

Location: London

DC Investment Manager

Salary: £60000 - £80000 pa

Location: London

Actuarial Analyst - London

Salary: £30000 - £33000 pa

Location: London