The draft defined contribution (DC) code is not suitable for all types of schemes and lacks clarity on trustees' responsibilities, according to responses to the regulator's consultation.
Responses to The Pension Regulator's (TPR) consultation which ran from 24 November until 29 January generally praised the code's overall format, which is shorter and more concise than its 2013 predecessor.
It contains an additional legal requirement on trustees to produce an annual statement and to appoint a chair if they have not already done so, and information on how to communicate with members.
However respondents highlighted various areas where the new code falls down.
Irwin Mitchell partner Penny Cogher said warned the code's one-size-fits-all approach would not work. She said DC schemes can be split into three groups: master trusts, standard DC schemes, and defined benefit schemes with additional voluntary contribution (AVC) arrangements.
She said it is doubtful whether smaller DC schemes or DB schemes with AVC would engage in the consultation, and therefore there is a danger those schemes will not be listened to.
She said: "TPR justifies its approach on the basis that the trustees of these schemes are all responsible for ‘custodians of members' retirement funds' which is obviously true. However whether really one size fits all must be debatable and TPR's current approach seems somewhat extreme."
Intelligent Pensions head of pathways Andrew Pennie (pictured) says he is not convinced revised code is going far enough to help schemes and trustees deliver their obligations.
He said that while he hopes the DC code will act as a catalyst for "the change and development that is desperately needed", it falls down in its reference to use of ‘wake-up-packs' - information packs for members. Rather, he thinks a more tailored approach is needed when communicating with members.
He said: "Trustees need to understand that ‘one size fits all' solutions do not work for people using flexi-access drawdown. Rather than a one-off event, like annuity purchase and cashing out, drawdown will be an ongoing series of cash and income withdrawals that will be different for every single person - as such, no two drawdown investment strategies should be the same and schemes need to help members achieve a tailored glide-path if they are to achieve the best possible retirement outcome."
Sackers head of DC Helen Ball said that overall, the code is moving in the right direction, although some of the trustees' responsibilities are not made clear.
She explained: "The draft code requires that trustees take regular steps to ‘engage' with members regarding information on their investment options and the likelihood of members wishing to gain flexible access to benefits.
Cogher said it would be interesting to see where TPR comes out in its codes and guidance on default arrangements and decumulation funds for DC members' pots.
"There is still no consensus in the industry, it seems, as to how these tricky issues are best tackled by trustees," she said.
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