Louise Sivyer: New PASA guidance will mean a better service for savers

The standardised data template inside the PASA DB guide is a great example of the industry and regulators coming together to try to deliver a better outcome pension scheme savers, writes Louise Sivyer

I was pleased to attend the launch of PASA’s DB transfers guidance on 8 July. As a member of the working group, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been working closely with Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) on this and we’re very pleased that the guide includes the standardised data template.

As many in the industry will be aware, the initial development of this template was led by us and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and a wide range of external stakeholders provided valuable input into the template development. As a resource to help administrators through the process of a DB transfer, the PASA guide felt like a natural home for the data template, which would assist in achieving take up by target users. We’d encourage trustees to promote the template and guide to their administrators, to ensure the optimum transfer experience for savers.

It is a great example of the industry and regulators coming together to try to deliver a better outcome for the people who really matter in what we’re all trying to do – pension scheme savers.

It’s important that savers in DB schemes and their advisers have all the information they need to make an informed decision about what is in the saver’s best interests. The PASA guidance is a step forward in making this happen.

We still think that most savers are likely to be better off if they stay in their defined benefit scheme. But if they choose to move to another legitimate pension scheme, their experience needs to be as smooth and trouble-free as possible. One of the ways that the industry can help with this is by the adoption of the template set out in the PASA guidance. This provides a framework for advisers and administrators to exchange the information that an adviser needs in order to be able to advise the saver on an appropriate course of action.

However, the issues in this market aren’t something that any one organisation can fix. Administrators, advisers, trustees and regulators all have different roles to play in helping savers to make well informed decisions which will protect them from scams and enable them to have the kind of retirement they expect. We all need to work together and the PASA guidance continues the good work that the Personal Finance Society has been doing through its Gold Standard for financial advisers, which we would encourage trustees to read and distribute to savers who request to transfer their pension. TPR and the FCA are also continuing to work closely together on this topic.

Louise Sivyer is policy principal at The Pensions Regulator