Pasa establishes working group to advise on pension statement season

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (Pasa) has created the Benefit Statements Working Group to advise the government's working group on the development of the annual benefit statement season.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has previously announced plans for mandatory simpler annual benefits statements, including the introduction of a ‘statement season’, with Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, establishing a working group to help develop an approach.

The statement season would see all statements issued during a certain period in the year, which the DWP said would help stimulate greater awareness and debate amongst savers to support the normalisation of workplace pension saving.

Pasa’s working group has been set up to assess the opportunities and barriers for the trust-based pensions industry to deliver the government’s objectives.

Sackers partner, Helen Ball, who will chair the working group, said the group will aim to use its knowledge, skills and expertise to work through the “multiple issues” raised in simplifying benefit statements.

The working group will, when required, liaise with the DWP and make recommendations to the Pasa board about the introduction of the season, the legislative regulatory or process changes required to support the delivery of statements, and on guidance for trustees, administrators and sponsors.

The group has prepared an initial paper for discussion with the DWP, which identifies the administration issues with a statement season.

The areas covered in the initial paper include what administrators need to make a statement season work, whether a single valuation date or single publication date would be achievable for all schemes, the potential capacity crunch that may result for administrators, and the relationship between a statement season and the introduction of the pensions dashboards.

Members of Pasa’s working group include Premier Pensions head of administration, Girish Menezes, who is also part of the DWP working group, Ball, XPS Administration senior technical analyst, Rosie Kwok, Aon support and engagement team manager, Charlie Bramald, and Evolve Pensions head of administration, Russell Whitmore.

Commenting on the announcement, Pasa chair, Kim Gubler, stated: “Benefit statements are high on the industry agenda and rightly so; the range and complexity of what has historically been provided to members is not working.

“The Pensions Minister is keen to standardise and simplify what’s provided to members and PASA fully supports this move. The proposed changes, as outlined in the DWP’s recent consultation, have far reaching consequences for pension administrators, and the formation of our Benefit Statements Working Group is in direct response to this.”

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