Tag Archives: pensions

CMA Order: Three Ways to Avoid Starting 2021 With a Fine!

UK pension scheme trustees must submit their first compliance statement, along with a certificate, directly to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by 7 January 2021. The compliance statement relates to obligations under the CMA Order issued in June 2019, including setting strategic objectives for investment consultants, which followed the conclusion of the CMA’s investigation … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court grants writ of certiorari on Railroad Retirement Tax Act issue

  The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to resolve a split between the Seventh and Eighth Circuits related to a federal program that is a well-kept secret. Nothing as intriguing as Russian spies or hacked emails… but, I think, interesting nonetheless. Of course, you have heard about the Social Security system. And you probably know … Continue Reading

U.S. tax reform – retirement plan provisions finalized

The tax reform bill is done.  President Trump signed the bill on December 22, meeting his deadline for completion by Christmas. While there is much to be said about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”), the update on the retirement plan provisions is relatively unexciting.  Recall that when the tax reform process started, … Continue Reading

VAT on pension costs – some good news!

It’s a while since we last commented on VAT on pensions but we return with some good news which HMRC have quietly slipped out in updated content to the VAT Manual. Back in 2014, following the PPG case, HMRC proposed withdrawing their practice of allowing employers to recover VAT on charges on administration costs for … Continue Reading

U.S. tax reform – 401(k) plans saved from the chopping block?

For the last few weeks, U.S. tax reform deliberations put 401(k) retirement plans on a roller coaster ride. Rumors abounded, including, for example, whether legislators would impose new contribution caps, or eliminate pre-tax contributions altogether.  Legislators often have targeted the tax-advantaged status of retirement savings plans as a revenue raiser to pay for federal programs … Continue Reading

Threat to 401(k) plans?

With U.S. tax reform on the horizon, there are some reports that lawmakers are considering limiting annual pretax contribution limits to 401(k) plans to $2,400.  The current tax code allows most workers to contribute up to $18,000 on a pretax basis to 401(k) plans.  At this time, it is uncertain whether there will be any … Continue Reading

Stuck on spin cycle – pensions and the money laundering regulations

In May we took the plunge and blogged about the forthcoming money laundering regulations (which seemed to have gone largely unnoticed until that point).  We highlighted some difficulties with the legislation and that it wasn’t entirely clear how they would apply to occupational pension plans.  Well, the final form regulations have arrived. They came into force … Continue Reading

FCA Asset Management Market Study

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its final Report on its asset management market study yesterday. Key findings include: Asset management – the report finds evidence of weak price competition and recommends a number of remedial strategies, including improved transparency and an extension of the senior managers’ regime. However, the FCA has rejected the idea of … Continue Reading

“Show Time!” for the US Labor Department’s Fiduciary Rule

It may be show time for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Fiduciary Rule (the “Rule”), but don’t expect an elaborate production.  Think frustrated, reluctant actors on a bare stage with no lights or scenery implementing the previous Administration’s regulatory approach to protecting retirees and retirement savings from conflicted investment advice. After a long and … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of ERISA exemption for church affiliated organizations

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in three cases that pension plans established by church affiliated organizations are “church plans” that are exempt from ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974).  The cases are Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, U.S., 6/5/17; Saint Peter’s Healthcare Sys. v. Kaplan, U.S., No. 16-86, 6/5/17; and … Continue Reading

BA pensions claim failed to fly but appeal to take off

So now we know, BA is not going to let things rest following its defeat in one of the biggest, most high profile and lengthy pensions cases in recent years. It is has been reported that it has sought and been granted leave to appeal. This was yet another case involving questions about indexation of … Continue Reading

Age discrimination – the great pensions imponderable!

Age discrimination is a notoriously difficult area to address in the context of pension plans (which, by their very nature, provide benefits by reference to the age of an individual). Two recent UK employment tribunal decisions have put age discrimination into the spotlight – with very different outcomes.… Continue Reading

Pensions & GDPR – the 12 month countdown begins!

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018.  Before that date, trustees of UK occupational pension plans will need to undertake some preparatory work, including: Creating records of all personal data processing activities (or confirming delegation to plan administrators and obtaining confirmation that they will do this) and ensuring administration … Continue Reading

Pension funds to benefit from further three year mandatory clearing exemption

Last week (4 May 2017), the European Commission published a legislative proposal to amend various provisions of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Regulation 648/2012) (EMIR). The proposal was adopted following a general report on EMIR published by the Commission in November 2016. Although the report indicated that “no fundamental change should be made to the … Continue Reading

We’ll CJEU in Court…or not!

The Upper Tribunal has rejected an application by the trustee of the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme for an expedited referral of its case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”). The Upper Tribunal decided that the unprecedented circumstances arising from the triggering of Article 50 did not alter its established test, … Continue Reading

Will the new money laundering regulations inspire pension plan spring cleaning?

New regulations, coming into force in June 2017, will introduce stricter EU anti-money laundering requirements into the UK and seem likely apply to pension plans. The potential criminal penalties for breach of the regulations are likely to bring this to the forefront of people’s minds. Will the new regulations apply to pension plan trustees?  Probably! … Continue Reading

Budget resolutions and the UK general election: what does it mean for pensions?

A client asked me a pertinent question yesterday, along the lines of: “Do the pensions changes announced in the last Budget still stand given that they are not yet enshrined in legislation and Parliament is soon to be dissolved?” The short and unhelpful answer is: “It depends…”  But what exactly does it depend upon? By … Continue Reading

The goalposts have been moved for DC pensions savings

The money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) affects individuals who have accessed their UK pension savings flexibly – it restricts further tax-free contributions they can make to defined contribution registered pension plans. A change of tactics The original MPAA introduced in 2015 was £10,000. Just two years later the Government’s response to its MPAA consultation, issued … Continue Reading

Pensions advice allowance – three is the magic number

Let’s start with the small print… From April 2017 it will be possible for individuals to take regulated financial advice and to have up to £500 deducted from their defined contribution (DC) pension pot and paid over directly to a financial adviser. This is for regulated “retirement financial advice”, defined as “advice in respect of … Continue Reading

New tax charge for overseas pension transfers

Trustees and pensions administrators should revise their transfer processes following an announcement in the UK Spring Budget designed to “tackle abuse of foreign pension schemes”. What’s the issue? In summary, where a member makes a formal request to transfer pension funds to an overseas pension plan the transfer will be an authorised payment provided that … Continue Reading
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