Trusteeship, Governance & Documentation Services
As a pension scheme trustee you’re always under pressure to balance the interests of members and corporate sponsors. Our Pensions team uses its experience to ease this pressure, ensuring trustees remain confident of fulfilling their obligations.
Being a trustee of a pension scheme is an important role and one that comes with a great deal of responsibility. Balancing the duties owed to members with those owed to the corporate sponsor is an arduous task.
As a result, having dedicated trustee governance measures and accurate, up to date documentation in place is now a pre-requisite to running a successful scheme. In the heavily regulated pensions world this promotes transparency in decision making in addition to healthy debate and discussion. Above all else it helps to manage the inherent risks and conflicts of interest in pension schemes as well as reducing the risk of costly litigation due to drafting errors and ambiguities.
Our Pensions & Employee Benefits team has extensive experience in this area and currently advises the trustee boards of over 30 occupational defined benefit pension schemes, as well as many defined contribution arrangements.
In addition to specific legal advice, we keep our clients informed with regular e-bulletins, seminars and workshops covering the latest issues and trends relating to pensions.
PLEASE NOTE: Our independent trustee company – Wedlake Bell Pension Trustees Limited – is available to act as trustee in appropriate cases.
- Advising on confidentiality requirements stemming from sensitive price information where a corporate takeover was proposed.
- Advice on employer covenant monitoring to a UK scheme whose overseas parent was the subject of a bank rescue.
- Advice on the Pension Regulator's Codes of Practice and Guidance where a historic investigation had been instigated against the trustees.
- Advising on scheme constitutions including use of trustee sub-committees and joint employer/trustee working parties.
- Advising trustees on the employer dept regulations and apportionment arrangements.
- Consolidation of a pension schemes' trust deed and rules taking account of over 20 amending deeds including preparation of 'plain English' reference guide for the trustees.
- Revision of a member booklet to explain salary sacrifice arrangements.
- Coordinating and drafting member communications for an actuarial equivalence exercise.
- Advising trustee boards on employer proposals to amend benefits.
Part 2 – Pensions Dashboard – The Big Picture
The stigma around pensions being a topic you steer-clear of has vastly decreased since I started my career in pensions. Now there is far more public engagement and enthusiasm about… Read more →
Part 1 – Volatility and Ukraine
Published in Pensions Age, Paul Ashcroft discusses volatility and Ukraine, including The Pensions Regulator (TPR)’s latest guidance. The Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) has set out its expectations following the Russian invasion… Read more →
Part 1 – Transfer Regulations – do they provide enough protection?
We are seeing a significant increase in the number of member complaints against trustees relating to pension scams. There is no doubt that these scams can be devastating to members… Read more →
Part 5 – Pensions Ready Reckoner
PARLIAMENT Recent Legislation Effective Date Effect Pension Schemes Act 2021 (Royal Assent 11/01/2021) – key provisions: Climate Change 1/10/2021 Climate Change Regulations imposing reporting obligations on large… Read more →
PART 3 – The 2022 Crystal Ball: Key Sightings
The more one looks at the night sky the more stars appear, just like new developments the pensions universe! Below are a few selected super stars likely to blaze a… Read more →
PART 6 – PENSIONS READY RECKONER
PARLIAMENT Recent Legislation Date Effect Pensions Schemes Act 2021 Royal Assent 11/02/2021 The Act applies in stages once ancillary Regulations have been made and brought into effect in October 2021… Read more →
PART 5 – BRITVIC – A JUICY TALE OF INTERPRETATION!
The level of pension increases and the freedom to change the rate used has been the topic of ongoing discussion since the government introduced the use of CPI for revaluing… Read more →
PART 4 – LIMITATION ‘AXED’ IN AXMINSTER
Axminster is the latest case to ‘give the axe’ to limitation under the Limitation Act to claims for pension arrears in a mammoth judgment which surveys the history of limitation… Read more →
PART 3 – UPDATE ON ANTIAVOIDANCE LEGISLATION AND TPR’S ROLE
RecapThe new criminal offences and additional grounds for contribution notices (“CNs”) under Pension Schemes Act 2021 are expected to take effect in about two months’ time on 1 October 2021.… Read more →
PART 2 – IS “GREEN” INVESTMENT LEGAL?
IntroductionMost would agree the planet is endangered by climate change. Governments worldwide are taking action. None more so than the UK Government with its legislative changes (click here for Justin’s… Read more →
PART 1 – GOING FOR GREEN: CLIMATE RISK GOVERNANCE AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR OCCUPATIONAL PENSIONS
A new regulatory framework…On 8 June 2021, Guy Opperman (Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion) announced the final versions of two sets of regulations 1 (which have now been laid… Read more →
Pensions Ready Reckoner March 2021
PARLIAMENT Recent Legislation Date Effect Pensions Schemes Act 2021 Royal Assent 11/02/2021 The Act will come into effect in stages once ancillary Regulations have been made and brought… Read more →
Pension Schemes Act 2021 – Round up of other significant changes
Generally, commencement of most of the Act depends on future regulations. The government has said it is progressing these but any subsequent regulations are unlikely to come into force before… Read more →
Pension Schemes Act 2021: Staying safe from the new Criminal Offences and Contribution Notices
BackgroundPrevention is better than cure. The criminal offences and new grounds for Contribution Notices (“CNs“) under the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (the “Act“) are nasty illnesses – but employers and… Read more →
Climate Risk for Pension Schemes – the regime from October 2021
After several years in the making, the Pensions Schemes Act 2021 (the “Act”) has finally received Royal Assent. Whilst much has been written about “beefing up” of the Pension Regulator’s… Read more →
Part 3 – RIP for RPI? Treasury and UK Statistics Authority Response
Background On 11 March 2020 the Treasury and the United Kingdom Statistics Authority (UKSA) jointly consulted on the UKSA proposal to adopt the CPIH (consumer prices index with a housing… Read more →
Ready Reckoner – September 2020
Parliament Forthcoming Legislation Date Effect Pension Schemes Bill 2019-21 Royal Assent expected in 2020 or Q1 2021 The Bill has completed its House of Lords stages and started in the… Read more →
Part 3 – Hughes v Pension Protection Fund (“PPF”) – Battle Lines Drawn in PPF Compensation Case
On 20 August 2020, battles lines were drawn and appeals lodged in the Hughes judicial review litigation. The PPF’s appeal concerns its approach to the requirement for members to receive… Read more →
PART 2 – Rectification of errors in your scheme documents – Univar v Smith
We often receive initial approaches by companies or trustees who are involved with final salary pension schemes who are concerned that there is a disconnect between two or three of… Read more →
PART 1 – Climate Risk Governance and Reporting for Pension Schemes – things are heating up…
In late August 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP“) launched a new consultation seeking industry views on proposals effective 1 October 2021, to require trustees of (i) larger… Read more →
Part 5 – COVID – 19 and death benefits – A case study
Many cases will be straightforward – lump sum benefits are usually paid to spouses or children of the deceased in accordance with up to date expression of wish forms. In… Read more →
Part 3 – Employee Rights to Receiving Adequate Pensions Information Bolstered by the Pensions Ombudsman
An Employer was found liable for negligent misstatement and in failing in its duty of care by the Pensions Ombudsman (“TPO”) decisions in Mr H (PO-15168) and Mr N (PO-15171)… Read more →
Wedlake Bell Pensions & Employee Benefits Team Update – TPR’s Annual Funding Statement 2020
Wedlake Bell Pensions & Employee Benefits Team Update – TPR’s Annual Funding Statement 2020 On 30th April 2020 the Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) published the above Statement aimed at employers and… Read more →
TPR launches its first prosecution for failure to auto-enrol staff
Automatic enrolment (“auto-enrolment”) – a familiar phrase Every employer should now be familiar with these words. Auto-enrolment. Auto-enrolment was introduced five years ago, in October 2012, and was talked about… Read more →
Streamlining how disputes are dealt with
As the legal adviser to many trustee boards and many employer bodies alike we see it as part of our job to help keep our clients away from complaints and… Read more →
Legality of employer decisions
In this article Employment Partner Blair Adams and Pensions Partner Clive Weber jointly comment on the important Court of Appeal decision in IBM v Dalgleish on 3 August 2017 (IBM Decision)… Read more →
Ombudsman gets tough on poor administration
The Pension Ombudsman has directed that a professional trustee company pay £2,000 to compensate a member for the significant distress and inconvenience caused by its maladministration in relation to a… Read more →