1 Persons with significant control regime - most companies (including corporate trustees) must now create and maintain a register of individuals or legal entities that have "significant control" over them (which can be complex to determine). Companies will have to deliver this information annually to Companies House when making a Confirmation Statement (which replaces the Annual Return) from 30 June 2016. Failure to comply is a criminal offence.
Action: Identify persons with "significant control" and produce register that complies with statutory requirements.
2 Tapered annual allowance - for the 2016/17 tax year, the pensions annual allowance has been reduced for many people with taxable income over 150,000 a year. For those with taxable income over 210,000 a year, the annual allowance could be as low as 10,000. Employers that have not already done so need to decide how to respond to this, implement any changes and communicate with their staff.
Action: Assess impact and decide response. Implement changes to employment contracts, plan rules, systems and member comms. Inform staff. Read more.
3 New DC Code and `how to' guides - a new Code of Practice for plans that provide any money purchase benefits (including AVCs) is due to come into force in July 2016 together with six new `how to' guides. The Code and guides cover issues such as assessing value for members, designing and monitoring DC investment strategies and the need for diversity on trustee boards.
Action: Review draft code and guides to ensure you are ready to comply with the new requirements. Read more.
4 First annual DC governance statement - trustees of plans that provide any money purchase benefits (including AVCs in some cases) must produce an annual governance statement, signed by the Chair, as part of their annual report and accounts for plan years ending on or after 6 July 2015. This will need to detail how the trustees have discharged the new governance requirements.
Action: Review compliance with new DC governance requirements and prepare first Chair's statement. Read more.
5 New rules for retirement risk warnings - trustees of pension plans that provide any benefits that may be accessed using the new flexibilities are now required by law to give members suitable risk warnings immediately before they access their benefits. This must include a statement about the importance of reading the risk warnings and accessing pensions guidance and advice.
Action: Review process for issuing risk warnings and their contents to ensure they comply with the new legal requirements. Read more.
6 Automatic re-enrolment - larger employers are approaching their first automatic re-enrolment date. There are subtle but important differences between the rules for automatic enrolment and re-enrolment. It is crucial that employers are aware of these. Employers also need to decide whether to apply the new exemptions from autoenrolment.
Action: Understand re-enrolment requirements and new exemptions. Select automatic re-enrolment date. Test payroll software. Prepare re-enrolment communications. Submit re-declaration of compliance.
7 End of DB contracting-out and new state pension - sponsors of formerly contracted-out defined benefit (DB) plans if they have not done so already - need to decide whether to amend their plan, to offset the loss of their national insurance rebate following the end of DB contracting-out from 6 April 2016. Plan rules may also need to be amended where they still refer to the old state pension.
Action: Affected sponsors should seek immediate advice on options for offsetting the loss of their NI rebate. Trustees should review plan rules and amend as necessary.
8 Reduction in the lifetime allowance - HMRC is launching a new online process in July for individuals to apply for transitional protection following the reduction in the lifetime allowance to 1m from 6 April 2016. Individuals can write to HMRC for temporary protection in advance of this but they will also need to make a full online application from July otherwise the protection will be lost.
Action: Ensure members are aware of the need to apply for transitional protection, where necessary, before they access their benefits and the process for doing so. Read more.
9 More European requirements pending - the text for the new IORP Directive is currently being finalised in Trilogue negotiations between the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission. EIOPA has also recommended to the EU institutions that DB plans across Europe be required to produce and disclose, on a regular basis, a market-consistent balance sheet and a standardised risk assessment using EIOPA's common funding methodology.
Action: Lobby European Commission and MEPs to ensure any new requirements are appropriate and fit for purpose. Read more.
10 Brexit planning - with the referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU fast approaching, trustees should consider the potential impact of Brexit on their plan and their sponsor and make appropriate contingency plans. Employers should also consider the potential impact on their business.
Action: Assess potential impact of Brexit and identify what action to take in the event of a vote to leave the EU on 23 June. Read more.