For your diary: Key pension dates you should know

Kim Kaveh writes

It has been a busy year for pensions policy and regulation, and there is still a lot in the pipeline for 2017. Here’s a list of what to watch out for in the coming weeks and months …

  • 15 September: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consultation on its interim Retirement Outcomes Review closes. It aims to publish a final report in the first half of 2018.
  • 21 September: FCA’s consultation ‘Advising on pension transfers’ will close.

The watchdog published proposals on advice relating to pension transfers where consumers have safeguarded benefits, primarily for transfers from defined benefit to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes. The policy statement is set to come out Q1 2018.

  • 28 September: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for active pension membership from 2016 comes out, as part of its annual survey. Find last year’s results here.
  • End of September: The FCA is expected to make a final decision on whether to refer the investment consultant market to Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for investigation.

 The FCA has been seeking further industry views on whether to refer the investment consulting market to the CMA since the end of June.

  • 1 October: Exit fees cap for members of certain occupational pension schemes accessing the pension freedoms (for over 55s) will come into force, along with the prohibition of charges on certain members of certain occupational pension schemes.

Employees who join a scheme will no longer be required to pay to access their pensions under Freedom and Choice, while members of a pension scheme before this date will have these fees capped at 1%.

  • 1 October: Automatic enrolment (AE) staging dates start for new employers set up since 1 April 2012, with first PAYE income payable between 1 April 2015 and 31 December 2015.

If a member becomes an employer or will become a new employer before 30 September 2017, they may not have a staging date – their duties may come into effect on their duties start date, according to the DWP.

  • 1 November: AE staging dates start for new employers set up since 1 April 2012, with first PAYE income payable between 1 January 2016 and 30 September 2016.
  • Autumn: The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) update on 21st century trusteeship is due to come out.

Its 21st century trusteeship and governance discussion paper set out what they are doing to educate and support trustees of DC and defined benefit (DB) schemes.

  • Autumn: DWP will publish its draft master trust regulations following the Pension Schemes Act 2017.

Members of master trusts will see greater protection as new rules for an authorisation regime and capital adequacy have been signed into law. The exact date this comes in to force is yet to be confirmed.

  • Autumn: DWP may consult on hidden pension costs and charges.

Work and pensions minister Damian Green has previously said the government would consult on hidden costs and charges, although it has not yet been confirmed when.

Expected by the end of the year

  • Additional HMRC online functionality to enable pension scheme members to notify loss of lifetime allowance protection before the end of the year.

 In its Pension Schemes Newsletter 86 the HMRC included additional member function for the lifetime allowance online service, so members can tell them online, if they have lost their lifetime allowance protection. The date has not yet been confirmed.

  • FCA’s policy statement following consultation CP16/30 ‘Transaction cost disclosure in workplace pensions will be published before the end of the year.

The FCA proposed the introduction of a duty on asset managers to disclose aggregate transaction costs to pension schemes that invest in their funds in October 2016.  The exact date is yet to be confirmed.