The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has said it was unaware of six schemes that meet the legal definition of 'master trust' ahead of the start of the authorisation regime.
In a new monthly master trust market update, the watchdog said a total of nine further master trusts had been identified since it published its defined contribution (DC) statistics in January, bringing the total number of master trust schemes up to 90.
While TPR has "proactively worked" to identify the additional schemes, "some schemes have notified us they are master trusts", the bulletin revealed. PP understands the regulator was notified by six of these schemes.
The definition of ‘master trust' was set in stone in the Pension Schemes Act 2017 - which also introduced provision for the authorisation and supervision regime - as schemes which provide money purchase benefits, are used or intended to be used by two or more employers which are not connected with each other, and is not a relevant public service scheme.
PP understands some of the additional nine schemes were traditionally defined benefit (DB) schemes which now provide some DC benefits.
A spokesperson said: "The statutory definition of a master trust was outlined in the master trust regulations. In the run-up to authorisation, we have proactively worked to identify schemes which fall under this definition and some schemes have notified us that they are master trusts.
"We continue to work closely with those responsible for the running and governing of master trusts to ensure they understand the requirements and are ready to apply for authorisation from October 2018.
"It is the duty of the pension scheme to abide by the legislation if they meet the definition of a master trust. If we discover master trusts operating illegally in the market without authorisation, we will notify the scheme that it must be wound up. We also have the power to enforce against a scheme operating unlawfully as a master trust without authorisation or a pending application."
The watchdog also confirmed previous data that three master trusts have already wound up and exited the market, while another 18 plan to do so prior to the authorisation regime coming into force. The regulator said it had "already supported" these schemes to transition members and their assets to another suitable vehicles.
The remaining 69 schemes are yet to decide whether to apply to remain in the market, although 33 have participated in ‘readiness reviews'. The regulator expects more schemes to leave the market before April next year, when the authorisation window closes.
Once schemes have applied, there will be little opportunity to amend the application - unless the regulator has identified missing information or requires clarification - without withdrawing and resubmitting.
The market has already seen some movement this year, with Salvus consolidating £7m of assets from Complete Master Trust in April, and The People's Pension absorbing the £20m Your Workplace Pension in the same month.
TPR said the new bulletin will be published on a monthly basis, providing further insight into the market, with rolling figures of the number of master trusts applying for authorisation included from October.
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