Existing master trusts will be forced to pay £41,000 when applying for authorisation under the upcoming regime, the government has confirmed.
While new master trusts will have to pay £23,000, the higher fee for existing master trusts is due to them having more historical data and will therefore be more complex to assess, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
In its response to its consultation on the master trust authorisation and supervision regime, which will be operated by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) from 1 October, the DWP added that, despite these higher initial fees, new master trusts would be "subject to higher supervision" and that the fee solely relates to cost recovery of the assessment.
Additionally, authorisation for new master trusts will be decided by an executive arm of TPR, while existing master trusts will need to seek Determinations Panel approval.
The fees are lower than the higher end under the original proposals, published in November, when the DWP said existing master trusts would have to pay "no more than £67,000", while new schemes would pay up to £24,000.
Defined contribution (DC) master trusts, and some mixed benefit and multi-employer schemes, will be required to apply for authorisation under the new regime, demonstrating compliance with five criteria. These are that the scheme must be run by fit and proper persons; it must be financially sustainable; it must have scheme funders who meet specific requirements; it must have sufficient and effective system and processes; and it must have an adequate continuity strategy.
These criteria will be assessed by TPR alongside a further evaluation of the financial strength of scheme funders "subject to the capital requirements of another financial regulatory regime".
Existing schemes which do not receive authorisation, or fail to meet the criteria on an ongoing basis, will be required to wind up and transfer members to another authorised scheme.
Commenting on the consultation response, minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman said: "I am committed to making sure that consumers can have confidence in their pension, and that the Pensions Regulator has the tools to deliver a level playing field.
"Whilst the number of master trust pension schemes has grown rapidly in the past six years, this has clearly not been matched by the regulatory scrutiny that savers should be protected by.
"Today's consultation response paves the way towards ensuring current and future savers in master trusts can be assured that their schemes will be just as strong, safe and secure as other occupational pension schemes, and that there are clear and consistent indicators of good operations and governance - good news for the pensions industry."
TPR is due to publish a Code of Practice and operational guidance providing detailed and practical support for schemes ahead of the October start date.
The DWP said this regime would fit within the transposition of the EU's second Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provisions (IORP 2), with further consultation on the way for remaining parts of the directive, which is due to come into force on 13 January 2019.
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