Some providers have met the Master trust Assurance Framework criteria but have not been included on TPR's official list. Helen Morrissey asks what this means for trustees.
The Master trust Assurance Framework (MAF) has been much welcomed by the industry as helping schemes choose a well-governed scheme for their members.
However, recently there has been some disquiet from providers who say they have not been included on The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) official list of MAF holders even though they have completed the process.
The reason for this is that on completion of the process, providers contact TPR only to be asked to provide supplementary information. This can be on areas such as how tax reliefs are communicated to scheme members.
Trustees will have to look under the bonnet themselves to find out how these schemes differentiate from their competitors.
It is only when TPR is satisfied that the provider has complied with these extra provisions that they make it on to the official list.
I can see why people would be annoyed. Going through the MAF process takes time and money and providers want to be able to publicise that they have achieved this standard. Adding extra provisions will bring frustration.
However, it's also fair enough to say that as TPR has the job of regulating the market then it is right to insist these schemes meet the very highest standards.
The situation shows the importance of schemes continuing to do their own due diligence to ensure they have chosen the right provider. Scrutinising the documents themselves will give schemes the information they really need rather than just accepting a standard.
Indeed as time goes on and more providers go through the MAF process it will become more of a hygiene factor rather than a nice to have. Trustees will have to look under the bonnet themselves to find out how these schemes differentiate from their competitors.
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