The industry has positive expectations for The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) forthcoming funding code for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, according to Aon.
The firm's survey of 300 industry professionals revealed 67% expected the new funding code to have a positive impact on their schemes, with less than one in ten saying they expected a negative impact.
The regulator is set to launch the first of a two-part consultation on the funding code in March, following a number of delays.
The watchdog will propose that employers and their schemes can opt for either a "fast track" or "bespoke" approach to how they deal with TPR.
Aon questioned respondents on whether their scheme would go down the fast track or bespoke route at their next valuation, with 53% revealing they would opt for a bespoke approach. The fast track route was the preference for a fifth (19%), while 28% did not know at this stage.
Partner Paul McGlone said: "Based on what is known so far, it seems that the industry is largely positive towards what they expect of the new code. Nevertheless, there are a few caveats to this. The views so far are based on an expectation that the code will provide greater clarity and guidance while maintaining flexibility - so we need to see whether it delivers that.
"The regulator has the expectation that a substantial proportion of schemes - and particularly smaller schemes with under 100 members - will use fast track, a route that reduces the cost of negotiating valuations but potentially requires higher contributions."
Plans to amend the funding code were first mooted in the government's DB white paper which was published nearly two years ago; the regulator had initially hoped to publish the consultation last summer.
McGlone added: "The balance for the regulator to strike is making fast track easy enough to get substantial members to use it, but not so easy that it fails to provide security that they (and government) want in order to avoid future problems.
"The key thing to look out for [in the consultation] will be clear definitions of the two approaches - a number of questions will lead from this. How realistic will it be for large numbers of schemes to achieve fast track? And how close to fast track will bespoke have to be?"
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