Clara-Pensions becomes first TPR-assessed DB superfund

Clara-Pensions has become the first defined benefit (DB) superfund to complete The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) assessment process.

TPR stated that Clara had met its “tough new standards” of governance and administration that it had set out to ensure assessed DB superfunds met its expectations to protect savers.

As a result, Clara is now able to being to onboard pension schemes and offer a secure solution to ceding trustees and sponsors, with the superfund confirming that it is "ready for transactions".

Clara-Pensions, which was initially founded over four years ago, highlighted the successful assessment process as a "remarkable team effort" and an "incredibly important step forward" in the journey to provide safer pensions.

"Clara’s member-first model is ready for transactions. We now turn our attention to our first transactions and our first pension scheme members," Clara-Pensions CEO, Adam Saron, commented.

"We’d encourage trustees, employers and advisers considering consolidation to get in touch to discuss their options, as we plan our transactions for the coming year.”

The superfund has now been listed on the regulator's new online list of assessed DB superfunds, which TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, highlighted as a "vital tool for trustees and employers".

“We are determined to protect savers and so potential customers of a superfund on our list can have the confidence that the scheme has been through a rigorous assessment process to show they are fit for purpose," she continued.

"It is vital however, that trustees and employers still carry out their own thorough due diligence to ensure they are confident a superfund is the right option for their particular scheme and members, and only consider a superfund which is on our list.

"We expect employers considering a superfund to come to us for clearance.”

Adding to this, Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, said: “This is a welcome milestone which fills a gap in the workplace pensions market.

“Superfunds are an innovative development in the defined benefit sphere that can increase protection for savers, and their pensions, whilst providing employers with a new, affordable option to manage their legacy pension responsibilities.”

The interim regime for DB superfunds was launched in nearly 18 months ago, in June 2020, with guidance for trustees and employers considering a superfund also published shortly after this.

Indeed, Clara Pension Trust chair, Alan Pickering, highlighted the today's announcement as "good news not just for for Clara but also the whole pensions sector".

"Our role as trustees is to ensure that Clara remains member-first and offers safer pensions," he continued.

"We’ve been closely involved in engagement with TPR to demonstrate the strength of our role and that member interests are at the heart of the Clara model. We look forward to providing better outcomes for members as we welcome them to Clara.”

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