Hymans Robertson has launched a segment identifier tool to help schemes meet The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) expectations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The consultant said the tool - launched last Friday (15 May) - will help schemes navigate the increased amount of guidance from TPR and quickly identify areas for operational improvement.
Use of the segment identifier tool can also help enable schemes to focus on crucial long-term planning and risk management.
Hymans Robertson said the tool can "show UK pension schemes how TPR would categorise them" within its guidance frameworks.
"The regulator has made it clear that it is continuing to look at segmenting businesses and schemes into graded categories, allocated according to three key drivers; funding strength, covenant and scheme maturity," the consultant said.
"By categorising in this way TPR is able to be much more directive about its expectations. In five steps this tool will generate a tailored summary informing schemes what actions TPR might expect them to take about covenant, investment strategy or funding."
Hymans Robertson partner Laura McLaren said the speed and scale of the pandemic has made it difficult for schemes to stay continuously on top of expectations.
She added: "This ongoing uncertainty and the prospect of further regulatory change on the horizon in the form of a new funding code, means that we expect all trustees and sponsors will need to work harder to demonstrate they have a clear, robust plans in place.
"This year's annual funding statement was clear that scheme's focus should remain on long-term plans and robust risk management, while areas such as contingency planning and fair treatment also featured heavily."
With some trustees being directed to support their sponsor in TPR's most recent guidance, McLaren said trustees should consider whether their sponsor's covenant strength has changed and how funding plans may have been implicated.
"Short term adjustments may be required to take account of the current environment," she said.
"Trustees which respond to this tool will have a clear picture of where action needs to be taken. Schemes can then prioritise their next steps and work more efficiently, making sure that any changes are implemented smoothly at both a strategic and operational level.
"Schemes which fail to act may be at risk of TPR intervention."
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