I am not sure whether being one of the few people who has actually read all 585 pages of the draft UK-EU ‘withdrawal agreement’ makes me supremely diligent or seriously dull. Perhaps a bit of both.
To be honest, I haven’t read every dot and comma. I doubt that anyone has. But I have given the whole thing a thorough once-over with a view to checking what it means for pension schemes.
The fact is that there isn’t all that much here for pensions-watchers. Yes, the document provides for continuation of the current arrangements on state pensions. So British pensioners retired to Spain will still receive their state pensions and vice versa. Periods of work and national insurance-type payments made in one country will still count towards the state pension in another. There are also plenty of clauses on the UK continuing to foot its share of the pensions bill for retired British EC officials and British MEPs.
What the withdrawal agreement does not tell us is what would happen after the ‘implementation period’ (the period between Brexit day on 29 March 2019 and the end of December 2020 when EU requirements would still apply). For example, would the UK continue to abide by the requirements of EU law on workplace pensions (the IORP Directive) and would there still be a formal link between The Pensions Regulator and the EU’s insurance and pensions body, EIOPA?
These issues, on which the PLSA has been lobbying ministers since the referendum, would only be addressed after Brexit day.
PLSA policy lead: engagement, EU and regulation, James Walsh