AMNT praises TPR and govt for 'proactive' approach to Covid-19

The Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) has praised The Pensions Regulator (TPR), and the government, for taking a “proactive stance” in their support of pension funds and trustees amid the current pandemic.

The association highlighted the regulator's new 'flexible approach' to reporting, stating that despite the constraints of statutory requirements, the regulator had managed to produce “excellent guidance” for employers and trustees.

This included the “softening” of various reporting requirements, with AMNT highlighting easements around sponsoring companies meeting their commitments to triennial valuations, in particular.

This will, according to the AMNT, help to ease pressure on trustees and provide a “clearer reporting picture” of a fund's financial position once economies recover.

AMNT co-chair, David Weeks, added: “Reporting now under these unprecedented financial
conditions would probably have shown a marked deterioration in pension fund provision.

"This would lead to a need for increased funding from the sponsor in many cases, at a time when they may be facing substantial business challenges.

"By giving flexibility in reporting dates the regulator will allow a clearer picture of the health of the specific fund and sponsor to emerge without overly damaging the integrity of the funding position. We commend this pragmatism."

He added: “If a more flexible approach had not been adopted some funds might have been pushed into the ‘lifeboat’ at this challenging time.”

The association has also praised the latest updated guidance form TPR">warning from TPR chief executive, Charles Counsell, which calls for greater caution around transfers, and asks trustees to warn defined benefit members looking to move funds against doing so in the current environment.

AMNT emphasised that recent easements in transfer activity would both ease cash flow problems and provide additional protection form scams and poor advice.

This also comes amid a series of warnings from industry regulators, associations and experts, about the increased threat of pension scams, with pensions minister Guy Opperman most recently calling on savers to avoid "knee-jerk" decisions.

To support its' members in the current pandemic, the AMNT will also be holding webinars with both the Department for Work and Pensions and TPR, with a Q&A session for trustees to seek guidance or opinion on the situation.

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