Two more master trusts apply for authorisation ahead of March deadline

Kim Kaveh reports...

Just eight master trusts have so far applied to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) for authorisation with just two months left until the deadline.

According to the watchdog’s monthly update published today (6 February), two further master trusts had applied for authorisation over the course of January.

Last month, Legal & General confirmed it was among the master trusts that had applied, while Crystal Trust and BlueSky – both operated by Evolve Pensions – applied in December. Willis Towers Watson’s master trust LifeSight was the first to apply for authorisation in November 2018.

The names of the other four master trusts that have applied are not yet known. However, Smart Pension has told RP’s sister publication Professional Pensions that its application will be submitted to TPR “imminently”.

TPR also confirmed today that one more scheme has exited the market during January, bringing the total to seven, while 31 have triggered their exit – two more than by the end of December.

This leaves 44 further master trusts, including NEST, yet to declare to TPR their intention for the future. These remaining schemes have until the end of March to apply, or they will be forced to wind up and transfer members to an authorised scheme.

At the same time, consolidation among master trusts continues to grow. Smart Pension absorbed more than 6,500 members from the Corporate Pensions Trust last month.

Furthermore, Crystal Trust took on members from The Open Pension Trust in December last year, bringing Evolve Pension’s total membership to 85,000. Salvus Master Trust consolidated the £7m Complete Master Trust, while The People’s Pension took on members from Your Workplace Pension.