As a hectic 2018 draws to an end, Jonathan Stapleton wishes readers a quieter 2019.
While you will still be able to follow all the latest developments in pensions at www.professionalpensions.com, this will be the final print edition of PP before the New Year.
I know… where did it go? It only seems like five minutes ago that we were cheering 2018 in and discussing our concerns about the impact of the first of the phased increases to auto-enrolment (AE), which happened in April.
But it has been a hugely busy year and, in addition to all the business as usual challenges that schemes and trustees face, there have been myriad legislative and regulatory changes.
Since the beginning of the year, we have had AE contribution increases; the launch of consultations on CDC, defined benefit (DB) consolidation and the pensions dashboard; the introduction of the master trust authorisation regime; a Competition and Markets Authority probe into the investment consultancy and fiduciary management markets; and a DB white paper.
And then we had the court cases… British Airways won an appeal against discretionary increases in July, a ruling its scheme's trustees have vowed to appeal; and Barnardo's was denied an indexation swap in a unanimous Supreme Court judgment. Saving the best to last, in October, the High Court came to a decision on the Lloyds case in a ruling that will mean thousands of DB schemes will be forced to amend their scheme rules and equalise guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) between men and women.
I would like to end the year by telling you that I expect the pace of change to slow in 2019 - and wish you a quieter New Year.
Sadly, I fear the next 12 months will be as busy as ever for sponsoring employers, trustees, consultants and providers.
If things go to plan, we will have a pensions bill in 2019 to legislate for many of the proposals contained within this year's consultations. We will need to cope with a further increase in AE contributions, any fallout from master trust authorisation and, of course, GMP equalisation.
We will have Brexit (or maybe not?). We will also have a new chief executive at The Pensions Regulator. Hopefully, we won't have a new government or pensions minister.
But before then, we may get a few days off over Christmas. Enjoy them - they may be your last break for a while.
Jonathan Stapleton is editor of Professional Pensions
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