Pasa-chaired working group publishes GMP equalisation guidance

The Pensions Administration Standards Association’s (Pasa) cross-industry GMP Equalisation Working Group (GMPEWG) has published guidance on the data required for guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) equalisation.

The guidance looks at all the data aspects of how to conduct a GMP equalisation project and is aimed at helping trustees understand the steps they can take now to get their scheme data ready for equalisation.

The first issue tackled was required data and data availability, with the guidance recommending that trustees consider what data is readily available, what could be available at some additional expense and effort, and what is unlikely to ever be available.

It was then suggested that they consider the impact of missing data and weigh up the costs of obtaining it against the impact and risk of not.

Trustees should also consider timing and grouping of members, said the guidance, such as examining the pros and cons of choosing to deal with data for members when accrual ceased or attempting to deal with those who might see a material impact sooner rather than later.

The guidance also recommended consulting with advisers, such as a legal adviser, actuary, administrator, and potentially others, regarding the data required, while also establishing clear roles for the cleansing process and good communication lines between relevant parties.

Finally, GMPEWG’s guidance suggested that trustees think about the potential need for data-related GMP equalisation decisions to be consistent with other similar decisions, as well as consideration of calculation options.

GMPEWG data sub-group chair, Akash Rooprai, commented: “Understanding the availability and quality of the required data is key and the guidance sets out the range of data trustees should consider obtaining. The GMP equalisation calculation approach also influences the data requirements, but conversely the data that is practicably available may influence the calculation approach.

“In practice obtaining all the data needed may not be possible and therefore the guidance includes some practical help for trustees who find themselves in this situation. Other key areas covered by the guidance include planning and specifically scheduling the data work into a plan for the whole project which will help with assessing costs and setting realistic timeframes.”

He added that the guidance allowed for trustees to “dip in and out of the issues they are most focused on at a particular time” and stated that “data planning and gathering needs to commence now, for everyone”.

Rooprai concluded: “Schemes shouldn’t believe difficulties in obtaining all the data are a barrier – there are options to work around some challenges. This guidance gives schemes the tools they need to confidently start the process of gathering data and moving to the next stage of their GMP equalisation projects.”

Previous publications from the GMPEWG include guidance on trustee decision-making when navigating GMP rectification alongside equalisation, while other recent help for trustees on GMP equalisation has come from The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

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