The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has granted 11 master trusts extensions to apply for authorisation, as it confirmed it received 22 applications ahead of the 31 March deadline.
According to a blog, published today (21 March) and written by head of master trust authorisation Kim Brown, the watchdog has also been “encouraging those filing authorisation applications in the last two weeks of March to apply for an extension”.
Master trusts can be granted an extension of up to six weeks, with Brown noting a common reason to grant an extension was a “key change to a scheme, such as a new owner, administrator or trustee”. She also said some master trusts were going through “significant changes” which will impact how they are run and therefore delay their applications.
According to Brown, extensions are important so that schemes can avoid accidentally failing over a technicality.
She said: “We are keen that schemes file the best possible application for authorisation, and this ensures that schemes can send us any additional information which we may ask for after the 31 March deadline.”
She noted that some have admitted the process is a challenging task, but that “TPR is right to set a high bar”.
She also said the watchdog has seen a late surge in applications, but that it had planned for this and has the resources it needs. RP’s sister publication Professional Pensions is aware of seven of the master trusts which have so far applied in March, including Aegon and Ensign, which both announced they had applied today.
Master trusts that have not applied for an extension have 10 days left to submit their applications to the regulator, but 18 are yet to declare their intentions. The names of 19 master trusts that have applied are publically known.