The Autumn Statement was a relatively quiet affair from a pensions perspective, with only a few minor announcements. However, in some ways, it was perhaps too quiet, with no hint as to whether further changes are planned to the framework of pensions taxation. Arguably we have no more idea of the new Chancellor’s views on what incentives should be given for people to save for the long term and/or their retirement than we had before he stood up at the despatch box.
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On 22 September 2016, the Board of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) published a consultation document on the 2017/18 levy. The consultation closes on 31 October 2016 and only minor changes are proposed. The PPF has also recently published other consultations and documents.
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Whilst we may have seen fewer thunderstorms this year than in previous summers, there has been no shortage of developments which could signal stormy weather ahead for pensions, including a Cabinet reshuffle, recent high-profile developments relating to the British Steel and BHS pension schemes and the prospect of a new Pensions Bill. All this takes place in the context of the vote to leave the European Union, which we have already considered in our briefing note ‘What does Brexit mean for pension schemes?’.
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In July 2016, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) published a discussion paper on how trustee boards can meet the challenge of pension scheme governance in the changing pensions and economic landscape of the 21st century. TPR is seeking views by 9 September 2016 on a number of topics, including whether there should be minimum qualifications for professional trustees or Chairs of trustees and whether Chairs should be required to produce a governance statement for defined benefit (DB) schemes.