Lifesight becomes first master trust to apply for authorisation

Willis Tower’s Watson’s UK DC master trust, Lifesight, is the first master trust to apply for authorisation with The Pensions Regulator, it has revealed.

The news comes after TPR confirmed that it received a single application since new legislation around the fit and proper running of the schemes came into force on 1 October.

TPR has six months from the application entry to assess Lifesight’s credentials for becoming an authorised master trust.

Lifesight managing director, Fiona Matthews, said: “The news that we are the only master trust to have reached this stage reflects that this has been a tough process that takes time to get right.

“We worked very closely with TPR to make sure that our application covered all the areas that are required and the readiness review process was really useful in helping us finesse our application.”

Lifesight added that having a fully independent and diverse trustee board provided a “very string governance framework to protect members’ interest”, which it believes helped its application.

“This provides a very strong governance framework to protect members’ interests and is something that the regulator wants to see clearly demonstrated in all applications,” Matthews said.

“For those schemes that need to make broader changes to their controls or operating model in order to meet the requirements, they will no doubt be taking great care to make sure they meet the regulator’s expectations before submitting.”

According to the regulator’s latest monthly figures, 33 master trusts are now expected to exit the market, up from 30 master trusts at the end of October, while three schemes have already completed their exit.

Master trusts now have just under five months to apply for authorisation, and while the latest figures suggest take up is slow, TPR believes it to be an indication of how seriously master trusts are taking the authorisation process.

Last month, Lifesight announced that it will be allocating around half of the equity investments in the default fund to ESG investments by Q4 2018.

It is the first master trust of its kind to make ESG a major part of the default fund and the allocation will be split between two strategies.

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