Westminster Business Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Pensions policy - new governance regulations, implementing pensions dashboards, and introducing the CDC model

Morning, Monday, 2nd November 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine major reforms being planned for pensions policy - and their impact on the future shape of the pensions market.


The agenda includes keynote contributions from Guy Opperman MP, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion and David Fairs, Executive Director, The Pensions Regulator - as well as a keynote panel with Jon Millidge, Chief Risk and Governance Officer, Royal Mail; and Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary, Postal, Communication Workers Union.


It comes as the Pension Schemes Bill continues its passage through Parliament, with recent House of Lords amendments which encourage the Government to look again at the pensions dashboard and how to protect consumers online, and ensure that the proposed open DB schemes do not have the effect of leading them to close.


The agenda:

  • The Pensions Schemes Bill and government’s wider vision for the future of pensions policy
  • Introducing Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes in the UK - potential uptake and impact on the market, employee engagement in scheme design, and effective regulation
  • Case study - establishing a CDC scheme
  • Delivering pensions dashboards - common standards, data scope, and usability
  • The new regulatory landscape for funds
  • The next steps for governance - the impact of the new DB code of practice, DC consolidation and sustainable investment

Further developments that are relevant to the discussion: 

  • Q1 of 2020 seeing the worst quarterly performance for pensions funds on record
  • The Pensions Regulator consulting on a new code of practice for the sector at a time of increased pressure from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Pension Schemes Bill currently in parliament, which would introduce:
    • Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes in the UK, and severe sanctions for mishandling scheme finances
    • new powers for the Pensions Regulator including speeding up receipt of information regarding schemes
    • House of Lords amendments to the Bill, with new measures proposing:
      • dashboards do not include provisions for financial transaction activities
      • a publicly owned dashboard service will need to be operational for a year and be evaluated before commercial dashboard services can operate
      • maintaining affordability of contributions to employers and members as part of DB scheme regulations
      • evaluation of the fairness of schemes to members to be conducted by CDC scheme trustees
  • Pensions dashboards due to be introduced from 2021, with a detailed timeline expected by the end of the year
  • The Pensions Regulator’s corporate plan, outlining priorities for addressing pensions saver risks and protections in light of COVID-19, with plans for new regulatory incentives put on hold
  • The Pensions Minister recommitting to legislation for the consolidation of small Defined Contribution (DC) schemes into superfunds
  • Reports that the introduction of a pensions commission is being considered by the DWP, which could examine issues including those related to climate and the long-term impact of the pandemic

The discussion in detail: 


COVID-19


Its impact on pension fund assets, with discussion expected on:

  • priorities and options for policy
  • strategies to support recovery, and protect retirement incomes - and the sector itself

The Pensions Regulator


Measures being undertaken on:

  • codes - moving the 15 existing frameworks into a new single code by the end of 2021
  • trustee knowledge and understanding (TKU) - looking at guidance on minimum annual time devoted to learning by lay members and professional trustees, and compliance criteria
  • diversity of trustee boards - how it can be improved, with a new industry working group to examine possible improvements
  • the Defined Benefit (DB) code of practice - with the first consultation including requiring appropriate, timely recovery plans for schemes in deficit
  • the additional guidance outlined in the Pensions Regulator’s recent annual funding statement, regarding issues relating to affordability and recovery plan design - as well as the moving of contributions to alternative funds and valuations for DB schemes – in response to the impact of COVID-19

CDC schemes


The legislative framework for their introduction of in the UK, including:

  • how schemes will be regulated
  • employee engagement in the design of any new schemes
  • the potential uptake of CDC schemes and their impact on the existing pensions market

Dashboards


Discussing their design, including;

  • parliamentary interventions on provisions for financial transactions and road testing before the rollout of privately-run dashboards
  • setting industry-wide interoperable standards and requirements for data
  • raising public awareness and understanding of the dashboards
  • meeting consumer interests and preventing pension scammers
  • the likely impact on the financial advice market at a time of growing economic uncertainty

DC schemes


Consolidation into superfunds, including;

  • implications for the way the DC market operates
  • the likely impact on employer choice and saver outcomes
  • challenges for ensuring a smooth transition
  • options for reassessing investment approaches due to COVID-19

Sustainable pensions investments


Developments, including:

  • guidance for schemes following changes to ESG disclosure requirements, including consideration of Government net-zero targets and global temperature goals set out in the Paris Agreement
  • the Pension Schemes Bill mandating pensions schemes align with TFCD recommendations, ensuring occupational schemes consider the risk of climate change and trustees publicly disclose how they’ve done so
  • the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s consultation on aligning pensions schemes with TFCD recommendations

Regulation and governance

  • The balance of fund management regulation - with some industry concerns that a tighter framework may result in DB scheme closures and impact on businesses ability to invest more widely
  • Pension governance - its future at a time of considerable reform, including the Pension Schemes Bill’s introduction of new sanctions on company directors mishandling pension scheme finances, which makes grossly reckless behaviour a criminal offence

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. 


This one looks no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Work and Pensions; the Cabinet Office; HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Transport.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speaker

David Fairs

Executive Director, The Pensions Regulator

Keynote Speakers

Guy Opperman MP

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion

Jon Millidge

Chief Risk and Governance Officer, Royal Mail

Terry Pullinger

Deputy General Secretary, Postal, Communication Workers Union

David Fairs

Executive Director, The Pensions Regulator

Chair

Lord Sharkey

Speakers

Chris Curry

Principal, Pensions Dashboards Programme at the Money and Pensions Service

Karen Quinn

Head of Marketing, ITM

Professor Ania Zalewska

Professor of Finance and Director of the Centre for Governance, Regulation and Industrial Strategy (CGR&IS) at the School of Management, University of Bath

Imran Razvi

Senior Policy Adviser, Pensions & Institutional Market, The Investment Association

Rosalind Connor

Partner, Arc Pension Law

Emma Douglas

Head of DC, Legal & General Investment Management Limited and Chair, Policy Board, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association

Maurice Titley

Chief Innovation Officer, ITM

Lesley Carline

President, Pensions Management Institute and Director, KGC Associates

Senior speaker confirmed from Pensions for Purpose

Patrick Bloomfield

Partner, Hymans Robertson, and Chair, Association of Consulting Actuaries