Willis Towers Watson’s LifeSight is the first master trust to be granted authorisation by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
The confirmation came from the regulator today (20 February), just over three months after the master trust applied.
LifeSight, which had 50,000 members and £2bn of assets under management as of March last year, was the first to apply for authorisation under the regulator’s regime which kicked off last October.
LifeSight trustee chairwoman Jane Platt said: “High governance and oversight standards are the way we deliver a great experience and outcome to LifeSight members.
“LifeSight’s governance has always been led by the trustee board, independent of Willis Towers Watson.”
TPR executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish added that the first authorisation of a master trust is a “landmark moment” and a “step towards a market of schemes with better safeguards around them”.
She added: “By the end of the year every master trust that continues to operate will have proven that its scheme and its trustees meet the standards laid out in the legislation and our code of practice. This will better protect the millions of members and billions of pounds in those schemes.
“Authorised master trusts are a good option both for employers looking to fulfil their automatic enrolment duties and for trustees of schemes who are looking to consolidate.”
LifeSight’s authorisation from the regulator comes despite the authorisation window remaining open until the end of March.
LifeSight managing director Fiona Matthews said: “We are thrilled to be blazing a trail for master trusts and receive this formal regulatory approval of the work LifeSight does.
“Being the first master trust to reach this landmark is a testament to the service we offer our members and clients, giving them the assurance that they are with the right provider.”
She added that she expects that authorisation will give schemes that have been waiting and watching developments the confidence to make the switch to a master trust.
minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman also noted that this is an important moment for the pensions industry.
“Authorisation will ensure master trusts – managing billions of pounds on behalf of millions of members – are strong, safe and deliver for workers.
“With record numbers saving for retirement, including millions through automatic enrolment, it’s vital to have the right protections in place across the board.”
So far, just eight master trusts are known to have applied for authorisation to TPR, based on figures from its latest monthly update. Standard Life submitted applications for two of its master trusts earlier this month.