As part of its remit, the Pensions Authority is responsible for the monitoring and supervision of, and the issuing of guidelines or guidance notes on, the operation of the Pensions Act. One of the key objectives of the Pensions Authority for 2016 and the coming years is to provide further guidance for trustees of occupational pension schemes.
At a Pensions Authority Seminar in January, the first tranche of the Authority’s Codes of Governance for Defined Contribution Schemes were launched with the second tranche released this week. There are currently six codes available here covering the following topics:
- Governance plan of action;
- Trustee meetings;
- Managing conflicts of interest;
- Collection and remittance of contributions;
- Investing scheme assets; and
- Paying benefits.
The codes are intended to supplement the existing Trustee Handbook and, while not a statement of the law, set out the standards of practice expected by the Authority from trustees of defined contribution schemes and should prove to be a useful guide.
Another of the Authority’s objectives is to increase its compliance oversight activity including, in time, extending the current programme of direct engagement with trustees to include direct engagement with trustees of larger defined contribution schemes. Trustees would, therefore, be well advised to keep up to speed with the latest developments on what the Authority expects and to remember that if the Authority does engage with trustees in relation to governance, one of the main things it will be looking at is the process around decision making and whether and, if so, how, the process for taking important decisions has been documented.
Further codes will be released throughout the remainder of the year covering other trustee duties and obligations.