• the Pensions Regulator’s consultation on revised Guidance on clearance applications closed on 2 November 2007. Finalised Guidance is expected by the end of December;
  • the first (and last?) notice by the Pensions Regulator proposing a financial support direction under section 43, Pensions Act 1995 – Sea Containers’ appeal against the notice is likely to be heard before the end of the year and should clarify the Regulator’s powers under Section 43;
  • the DWP’s consultation on flexible retirement and the age regulations closes on 7 December 2007. The DWP hope to clarify sponsoring employers’ pension obligations where an employee receives pension benefits whilst continuing to work for the employer. The DWP may await the ECJ decision in Heyday’s challenge to the UK’s default retirement age of 65;
  • the ECJ has decided that the Spanish mandatory retirement age was objectively justified given Spain’s employment and pension policies. It seems that Heyday consider the socio/economic circumstances of the UK and the justifications put forward by the UK government are sufficiently different to Spanish ones to make it worthwhile continuing their action;
  • the International Accounting Standards Board issued a note in July on the extent to which company accounts can recognise surplus. The IASB note is mandatory for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2008. The concepts of recoverability of surplus by refund or otherwise are integral to the note – these are legal matters where the position will depend on the Trust Deed and Rules of the particular Scheme. We always knew those High Court decisions on “surplus” would come into their own again!