PLSA AC 21: Simpler statement regs and DB MT self-certificates to be introduced 'shortly'

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, has confirmed his intention to regulate for simpler annual benefit statements "shortly" and to introduce a self-certification system for defined benefit (DB) master trusts (MT) "soon".

He stated that he also intends to legislate for a statement season, with both the season and simpler statements being subject to recent consultation.

Speaking at the PLSA Annual Conference 2021, Opperman said that the self-certification system, made in conjunction with the PLSA, will be introduced "soon" and help raise awareness of the potential services and benefits that DB master trusts can provide.

This, in turn, is hoped to help DB schemes assess whether master trusts could be suitable for their members.

The self-certificate will be a standard template, developed by an industry working group, through which DB master trusts can provide information on their structure and how they operate.

DB master trusts can request a template self-certificate from the PLSA website, although PLSA stated that it was unable to provide any further information until the system in launched.

Addressing the conference, Opperman said: "We are doing more to help encourage an promote exiting forms of consolidation in the DB sector.

"I'm pleased to report, following consultation with the industry working group, we will soon be launching a system of DB master trust self-certification, in conjunction with the PLSA.

"This will help raise awareness of the services and benefits of DB master trusts, which will also help DB pension schemes to assess whether they are the right solution for them.

"I’ve set out the direction for travel, and there are, in my view, exciting times ahead."

On simpler statements and the statement season, Opperman commented: "Shortly, we will be laying the regulations for simpler annual benefit statements.

"Simpler statements, in my view, will usher in a new standard for how schemes communicate with their members.

"I also intend to legislate for a statement season, which will maximise the impact of simpler statements, stimulate greater debate among the public, and we’ve formed a cross-sector working group to identify workable options for the introduction of a statements season."

During his session, Opperman also warned against complacency as the economy moves to net-zero carbon emissions, reiterating that pension schemes have a "massive" role to play.

He also emphasised the importance of stewardship in helping fight the climate crisis.

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