Guest comment: Brexit not top of pension schemes' agenda

There might be meltdown over Brexit, but for trustees and managers of pension schemes there are more pressing issues on their agenda.

I was reminded of this at a recent conference I attended in France. The conference was attended by European pension schemes run by multinational companies – exactly the kind of group one might expect to be concerned about Brexit-related uncertainty.

My speaking slot was billed as a focus on Brexit and other EU issues and there was a follow-up question on how the government expects pension schemes to go about complying with the revised IORP Directive.

On Brexit, however, there were no questions at all. Delegates instead wanted to hear about the latest on the pensions dashboard, the PLSA’s view of the new defined benefit
consolidators and how technology might shape the way pensions are provided. It was clear from the mood in the room – and from talking to industry colleagues in the margins of the event – that Brexit is on their list, but not at the top of the list.

After all, while it’s obvious that Brexit is a major issue, no one knows (at the time of writing, at least) what form it will take – still less what impact it might have on the markets, on regulatory systems or on sponsoring employers.

In September, the PLSA wrote to the Chancellor to set out what we believe the government needs to focus on to ensure a successful Brexit for UK pension schemes – including good access to the EU single market and the right regulatory regime. In particular, we must ensure that schemes which only operate in the UK are not affected by EU rules on scheme funding.

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