Pension schemes 'coping well' with Covid crisis but 59% warn against ending TPR easements

Covid-19 has not had a detrimental effect on the “vast majority” of pension schemes, although continued support may be needed, with 59 per cent of schemes supporting calls to extend regulatory easements into the new year, industry research has shown.

A survey from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) found that
81 per cent of pension schemes believe the pandemic is having little or no impact on the day-to-day running of their scheme, up from 67 per cent in April and 42 per cent in March.

The majority (91 per cent) of schemes also stated that they are currently operating all business processes smoothly to suit the current environment.

Furthermore, 100 per cent of master trust and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) members surveyed said that their contingency plans are dealing with the pandemic either very well or fairly well.

The PLSA also stated that most pension schemes are optimistic about the new year, with 63 per cent of master trust and LGPS members stating that they do not have concerns about coping with the current situation for the whole of 2021.

A quarter of schemes are confident they could cope for between six months and a year, whilst just 12 per cent reported that they would struggle to cope within the first six months of 2021.

However, three-fifths (59 per cent) of schemes also supported calls for the extension of regulatory easements and flexibilities from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) beyond early 2021.

Commenting on the findings, PLSA director of policy & research, Nigel Peaple, stated: “The pension industry has proven to be extremely robust in dealing with the massive disruption and unpredictability of Covid-19 and it’s pleasing to see so many of our members coping well and looking optimistically towards 2021.

“Yet it is important that policymakers and regulators take into consideration the forthcoming difficult economic and investment environment, and make sure that the decisions they take next year support schemes in helping savers achieve a better income in retirement.”

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