On 10th July, the Chancellor made a series of announcements in his Mansion House speech that will potentially have significant implications on both DB and DC pensions.
The Mansion House Reforms
- 2/3rds of the UK’s DC workplace market, namely Aviva, Scottish Widows, L&G, Aegon, Phoenix, Nest, Smart Pension, M&G & Mercer, have committed to allocate at least 5% of their default funds to unlisted equities by 2030. This agreement is known as the “Mansion House Compact”.
- The Chancellor has proposed fundamental changes to the way in which the Pension Protection Fund (“PPF”) operates, namely to use the PPF as a “permanent superfund” i.e. a consolidation vehicle for DB schemes by putting superfunds on a permanent legislative basis.
- The DWP has published its joint consultation response with the Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) and the FCA on the Value For Money framework. Schemes not achieving the best possible outcome for members will face being wound-up by TPR.
- The DWP and HM Treasury have launched a consultation focusing on: trustee skills and capability, the role of advice and barriers to trustee effectiveness.
- The government will also consult on accelerating the consolidation of Local Government Pension Scheme (“LGPS”) assets by March 2025 for all LGPS funds to transfer their assets into local government pension pools.
- The Chancellor also raised some interesting questions about removing barriers to: i) the growth of surplus; and ii) possibly to the recovery of scheme surpluses.
- The Mansion House Reforms were guided by the Chancellor’s ‘three golden rules’ aimed at unlocking investment potential and securing the best possible outcome for pension savers. Such reforms are welcome news, given that nearly 90% of employees are reported to not be saving enough towards their retirement (as reported by the IFS here).
- On the other hand, the PPF is not backed by the government, rather it is funded by the PPF levy charged on DB schemes. Fundamentally changing the way in which the PPF operates needs to be done without risking the benefits of its members or increasing the cost for other DB schemes, particularly those that pay a PPF levy but would not participate in the new superfund.
- Some have commented on the challenges faced by trustees and members on keeping up with the pace of the reforms to the regulatory landscape. For example, it was only a few months ago that the Spring 2023 Budget announced the abolishment of the lifetime allowance charge and other significant tax changes including to the annual allowance.
- Legislation will be needed to implement many of these changes. It is difficult to say how long this may take, but potentially by January 2025.
- The Chancellor’s speech can be found in full here. If you have any questions regarding the Mansion House Reforms, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.