The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is consulting on amending various disclosure regulations for occupational, personal and stakeholder pension schemes. As part of this new consultation, it has also issued a response to its earlier consultation on amending the disclosure regime (for background on its earlier consultation see EPB bulletin 23 March 2009).

Among other things, the draft amending regulations would reduce the time limit to one month (it is currently two months) for providing basic information about the scheme to new members of occupational pension schemes. This change is intended to take effect from October 2012.

The DWP intends for all the other proposed changes in the draft regulations to be “permissive in nature” so that schemes will not need “to make changes to remain compliant with the [disclosure] requirements”. As part of these “permissive” changes, the DWP intends to:

  • allow schemes (including occupational schemes) to “use electronic communications as their default method if they wish”;
  • “enable the production of shorter, simpler [Statutory Money Purchase Illustrations for Defined Contribution schemes] statements for those schemes wishing to review the information provided to members”.

The proposed “permissive” amendments would come into force on 1 October 2010.

The consultation document also states that the Government will continue to consider consolidating the general disclosure regulations for occupational, personal and stakeholder pension schemes into one set of regulations. But the Government is progressing this issue outside the scope of the current draft amending regulations.

The consultation on the draft regulations closes on 1 March 2010.