UK - Lawyers are urging the government to clarify whether interim regulations for member nominated trustees over-ride existing contracts that specify an opt-out expiry date.
The interim regulations extend the current six-year opt-out period to 10 years.
But Allen & Overy solicitor Dana Burstow says clarification from the Department for Work and Pensions would be a relief to firms with MNT contracts which have already expired and which have been waiting for already-delayed regulations from the government.
Under the interim regulations – which come into force on October 6 – a company may also change a scheme’s MNT arrangements at any time during the next four years, provided it has the consent of the trustees.
But Burstow says it is unlikely that many firms will try to do this.
She said: “Trustees and the employers can introduce new opt-outs, but employers may think that, on balance, it is not worth their while implementing a new opt-out for such a short period and decide to stick with their current arrangements.”
The last-minute change in the extension of opt-out periods from three years to four has triggered concerns over the time it will take for Pickering’s proposals to be enshrined in to law – Pickering proposals could take four years.
And CMS Cameron McKenna partner Mark Atkinson warned the DWP that if it fails to get the new MNT regulations right, the whole industry would be gunning for it.
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