The Pension Schemes Bill receives Royal Assent

03 May 2017

The Pension Schemes Act 2017 legislates for the greater regulation and protection of master trusts.

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the bill it received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

Geographical extent – The Pension Schemes Act 2017 extends to England and Wales and Scotland.

The Pensions Regulator has the following information on their website about master trust pension schemes:

If you run a master trust you need to comply with duties set out in the Pension Schemes Act 2017. Some of these duties start immediately.

The 2017 Act introduces a definition of 'master trust'. You should assess whether your scheme meets this definition. A master trust is defined as an occupational pension scheme that:

  • provides money purchase benefits
  • is used, or intended to be used, by two or more employers
  • is not used, or intended to be used, only by employers which are connected with each other
  • is not a public service pension scheme.

If your scheme also offers other benefits, the duties will generally only apply to the money purchase benefits provision. If you are unsure how this applies to your scheme, you should seek advice.

What you need to do now

If you are involved with a master trust you have duties to report certain ‘triggering events’ to us. These events may indicate that the scheme cannot continue to operate. You also cannot increase charges to members during a triggering event period. Read more about these triggering event duties.

You should continue to comply with the standards set out in our DC code.

We also expect you to obtain master trust assurance to help you show that you have governance and administration standards that meet the DC code.

Future responsibilities

The 2017 Act also introduces measures for authorising and supervising master trusts. These will start after regulations have been developed.

This information will be updated here once further details are available.