Pensions Ready Reckoner – March 2019

29 / 03 / 2019

Clive Weber, Partner, Pensions & Employee Benefits Team. Please contact Clive with any queries on this Ready Reckoner.

PARLIAMENT
Recent Legislation Date Effect
Financial Guidance and Claims Act Enacted 10 January 2018 The Single Financial Guidance Body combines the Money Advice Service, Pensions Advisory Service and Pensions Wise. Framework into force 1 January 2019.
Privacy and Electronic Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 1396 of 2018 Regulations made 19 December 2018, came into force on 9 January 2019 Ban on unsolicited direct marketing calls relating to pensions.
Disclosure Regulations Into force 6 April 2018 In addition, the regulations relating to money purchase occupational pension schemes publishing charges and transaction information about pooled funds to members came into force on 6 April 2019.
Finance Act 2019 12 February 2019 In relation to pensions, the Finance Act widens the definition of beneficiary for life assurance arrangements and QROPs with effect from 6 April 2019.
Auto-Enrolment Regulations Into force 6 April 2018 In addition to changes already implemented, the employer’s full contribution rate of 3% of band qualifying earnings comes into force on 6 April 2019, taking the total minimum contribution up to 8%.

Proposed Legislation Date  
Civil Partnerships Registration etc. Bill Unknown This Bill is progressing through Parliament. Amongst other matters the Bill provides for opposite sex couples to enter into a civil partnership.
Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill Unknown The Bill aims to introduce as a fair starting point the equal division of all property and pensions acquired by the couple after marriage. This Bill is still progressing (slowly) through Parliament.
Pensions Bill? Unknown At some point it seems some legislative changes may be needed to facilitate conversion of GMPs into non-GMP pension, to complete the existing framework legislation.
DWP – Consultation on Collective Defined Benefit Schemes (“CDCs“) 6 November 2018 It is intended that CDCs will enable employers to provide a third type of pension provision between DB and DC schemes. Timing of any new legislation to permit this is uncertain due to BREXIT.
DWP – Strengthening TPR’s powers January 2019 Following its Consultation in 2018, Government has announced it intends to introduce 2 new criminal offences (including an offence of harming schemes by wilful neglect on the part of their sponsors/their Directors) as well as legislation to strengthen TPR’s powers of investigation and inspection. Due to BREXIT the timing of this new legislation is unclear.


FROM THE COURTS 
Topic Recent decisions  
Amending scheme rules Coats UK v Styles High Court, 14 January 2019 Whilst this decision related to changes to the Scheme’s indexation and revaluation provisions, interestingly the High Court has decided that an otherwise invalid Amending Deed, was validated by treating it as an exercise of the trustees’ unilateral power to amend schemes under Section 68 Pensions Act 1995.
‘Privileged’ correspondence Briggs v Clay High Court, 25 February 2019 Be careful what you write in correspondence! This High Court decision, involving a negligence action against deeds prepared by actuarial advisers, examines the extent to which correspondence between the parties is admissible in a subsequent negligent action. Key point – marking correspondence “without prejudice” does not necessarily shield it from later scrutiny.
Joint Venture Agreement – extent to which ‘unforeseen’ pension liabilities can be recovered from the parties to a joint venture Spirit Energy v Marathon Oil Court of Appeal, 17 January 2019 The Court of Appeal unanimously reversed the High Court judgment on 21 February 2018 and decided: the JV agreement relating to pension costs does in this case cover unforeseen pension deficit costs.


FORTHCOMING COURT DECISIONS    
Topic Effect   
Discrimination – equalisation of women’s state pension ages Robinson v Secretary of State High Court, 5 and 6 June 2019 Challenge to Government methodology for increasing State Pension Age for women from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to November 2018 (originally to November 2020).
Sex equality Safeway v Newton Reference to CJEU Validity of method of equalising pension benefits – domestic UK law v EU law (referred by Court of Appeal on 5 October 2018 to the CJEU). The Advocate General’s Opinion to the CJEU was delivered on 28 March 2019, the CJEU’s judgment is now likely within 6 months.
Proper exercise of Trustee powers British Airways Trustees v British Airways Supreme Court, 2019 Issue: whether the BA Trustees acted properly in awarding discretionary pension increases. The Trustees won in the High Court in May 2017, lost by 2 to 1 in the Court of Appeal in July 2018 and their appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court on 3 and 4 July 2019. An extremely important case on the legal powers of trustees.
Overpayments of pension and their recovery Burgess v BIC UK Court of Appeal, 6 and 7 February 2019 The Court of Appeal judgment has been reserved and will be given at a later date. The case concerns the validity of pension increases, and the law relating to the recovery of invalid increases paid.
TPR’s Financial Support Directions Granada v TPR – Box Clever case Court of Appeal, 13 May 2019 Query, the extent of TPR’s powers to issue Financial Support Directions in the context of joint venture corporate structures.