Just before going to press, the Regulator also published its guidance on the abandonment of defi ned benefi t pension schemes, outlining how trustees should deal with a proposal which involves the abandonment of their scheme. This follows on from a consultation paper issued by the Regulator back in December last year setting out the Regulator’s views on the subject and containing a draft of the now fi nalised guidance. During the consultation exercise, the Regulator received a number of responses from the pensions industry (although it makes the comment that no responses were received from ‘some industry representative bodies from which a response could have been expected’).
As a result of the consultation exercise, the Regulator has made some changes to the guidance ‘to refl ect the helpful comments received’. In particular, the Regulator has refi ned the guidance to emphasise that, in cases where there is an existing ‘employer of substance’, abandonment is unlikely to be in the best interests of the scheme members. The guidance also now refl ects the factors that it believes are important for trustees to measure in order to reach a conclusion on whether or not abandonment would be in the members’ best interests. The Regulator acknowledges that there is a very small number of schemes where the employer is already not an ‘employer of substance’ and thus change to another employer who is ‘not of substance’ may be more reasonable. The guidance is available at: www.thepensionsregulator.