Urgent action needs to be taken if schemes are to meet deadlines for reconciling GMP data says Helen Morrissey.
The issue of GMP reconciliation has been widely discussed for some time now but as yet there has been relatively little action. However, in recent weeks I have noticed the tone of many presentations and articles on the subject becoming markedly more urgent.
The reason for this is that the deadline for submitting an expression of interest form to HMRC is 5 April 2016. Schemes will not be able to use the tax office's Scheme Reconciliation Service (SRS) after this date. In addition HMRC is adamant it will not respond to queries after October 2018.
I know that schemes have had a lot to cope with preparing for auto-enrolment, pension freedoms and responding to the many consultations issued. However, if schemes are to access the support they need in this area then they need to act sooner rather than later.
If schemes are to access the support they need in this area then they need to act sooner rather than later.
Figures from Equiniti estimate there are 17,000 members to reconcile each day between April 2014 and 2018, when contracting out comes to an end. In addition there are still around 1,000 schemes left to reconcile. This is a lot of work by anyone's standards and schemes should act as soon as possible or risk getting caught in a massive capacity crunch.
Those schemes with advisers are no doubt working their way through their plans or at least being strongly urged to do so. However, what of those schemes unable to access the services of such advisers? What help are they getting on this issue?
The Pensions Administration Standards Association's GMP working group has published a step-by-step guide on why schemes should reconcile their data but more support is undoubtedly needed if we are to get everyone over the finish line on time.
If this is not done schemes could face liabilities they can ill afford to pay not to mention the possibility of angry scheme members demanding recompense.
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