Pensions Bill confirmed in Queen’s Speech

Changes to the UK pensions system have been outlined in the Pensions Bill, which was announced by the Queen earlier today (14 October).

Documents confirm that the bill will create a legislative framework for the introduction of a pensions dashboard, The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) powers will be strengthened to take action against irresponsible employers and a framework will be provided for the establishment and regulation of collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes.

The bill will also amend legislation for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) compensation regime to enable the lifeboat to continue to provide compensation as intended and amend the definition of administration charges.

Furthermore, the document stipulates that trustees will now be required to provide a statement on their funding strategy for defined benefit pension schemes and creates regulations to set out circumstances under which a pension scheme member will have the right to transfer their pension savings to another scheme.

It also confirmed that pension schemes will be compelled to provide accurate information to consumers and that TPR will have powers to ensure that relevant schemes comply.

TPR has also been given the powers to obtain information about schemes and sponsoring employers “in a timely manner, ensuring that it is able to gain redress for pension schemes and members when things go wrong”.

New criminal offences relating to pensions were outlined, with the most serious carrying a seven-year prison sentence and a fine of up to £1m, which will be overseen and investigated by TPR.

TPR has had its powers enhanced so that it is able to respond earlier to irresponsible employers and is now able to take tougher action against those who risk peoples’ pension benefits.

The document stated: “A Pension Schemes Bill will enable people to plan their saving for later life by giving them access to information on their pensions’ savings in one place online, for the first time.

“It will also improve the protection of people’s pensions, strengthening the powers of the regulator to tackle irresponsible management of pension schemes.”

Although the bill has been introduced, there is no guarantee that it will pass through parliament and it could be voted down.

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