UK - The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority has backed away from plans to allow trustees to halt wind-up procedures.
The regulator has been considering plans to allow the trustees of more than 1300 schemes to halt wind-up procedures since April.
At the time, OPRA was concerned that members would miss out on the government’s £400m Financial Assistance Scheme if trustees proceeded with winding up their schemes.
OPRA will issue guidelines for trustees currently winding up their schemes next month following consultation with the department for work and pensions and industry bodies.
But because full details of the compensation scheme have yet to be worked out, OPRA’s guidelines, which are still being drafted, will instruct trustees to proceed with wind-ups.
OPRA has also rejected suggestions from independent expert Ros Altmann that trustees should be allowed to halt annuitisation.
Spokesman Nick Edmans said: “The guidance will explain to trustees how the FAS will interact with their duties as they stand.
“It will not say ‘hold up wind-ups’, it will say ‘proceed as normal with your various processes’. That will include things like wind-ups, annuitisation. It does not in any sense tell people to stall things.”
Eversheds partner and The Association of Corporate Trustees pensions committee chairman Giles Orton said: “The Association of Corporate Trustees is looking to OPRA for what guidance it can give, but we appreciate that this is difficult for OPRA because the shape of the financial assistance scheme is not definite yet.”
OPRA says that as of March this year, 113 defined benefit schemes, covering 892 members, are currently being wound up as a result of company liquidations, while another 1234 final salary schemes – affecting a further 174,228 members – are being wound up for other reasons.
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