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Communicating with pension scheme members: when is ‘good enough’ good enough?

Helen Powell

Systems are often imperfect and computers sometimes say ‘no’. If you fail to get important information to a pension scheme member about their rights under the scheme, is it enough to have done your best? That will depend on the nature of the duty, and to some extent on the nature of the information involved. Two recent court decisions highlight issues for both administrators and employers providing information to scheme members.

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DB to DC pension transfers: communications caught between a rock and a hard place?

Helen Powell

Here’s the dilemma: as a sponsor or trustee of a DB pension scheme, you’re aware that something else is going on underneath all the noise of the Budget around allowing people to access their DC savings. There’s an ongoing consultation about what the impact will be for DB members – will they be allowed to transfer freely to a DC environment and access their pension savings?

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Administrative practice: do your members’ pension benefits actually reflect the rules?

Joan Whybray

If there’s one topic likely to get pension scheme trustees, administrators, lawyers and actuaries breaking out in a cold sweat, it’s when you start comparing (really comparing) a scheme’s rules with its administrative practice.  Rather than addressing queries as and when they arise, the scheme’s actuaries and administrators will sit down in a darkened room (often with a cold towel) and systematically review the calculation of members’ benefits and the relationship, or otherwise, the calculation has to the scheme’s rules.

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Budget 2014 – can your scheme pay out the new lump sums?

Shaul Steinberg

The 2014 Budget included an announcement that the limits on trivial commutation and other small lump sums would increase from 27 March. Several of our trustee clients have queried whether they can go ahead and make payments to members on the new basis. There are a couple of points to watch out for:

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Equalisation: a judicial change of approach?

Jason Shaw

The knotty question of whether a pension scheme has been properly equalised or not is an issue that the industry has been grappling with for over 20 years – and it’s still causing headaches.  The story will be familiar to most of us: “The trustees thought we’d equalised retirement ages, the company thought we had, members were told we were equalising to age 65, the scheme’s been administered on that basis for years and no members have ever suggested otherwise – so why are the lawyers now saying we haven’t equalised properly?”.

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