Following a review of the statutory requirements for the provision of information by, and to, private and public pensions schemes, the Occupational, Personal and Stakeholder Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 have recently been laid before Parliament.
These regulations, due to come into force on 1 December 2010, will introduce two main changes:
- new provisions will be enacted to allow occupational, personal and stakeholder pension schemes to disclose required information to scheme members by electronic communication methods; and
- defined contribution (DB) schemes will be entitled to provide more concise annual benefit statements to members, with further information being made available upon request (a shorter statement that certain general assumptions have been made must be provided instead).
The proposed amendments do not, however, contain an amendment (raised in proposals set out in January – see our previous bulletin) to reduce the time limit for providing basic information about the scheme to new members of occupational pension schemes to one month.
It should be noted that members will have the right to opt out of electronic communications, in which case the scheme must continue to provide them with written information (usually in the post).
Scheme administrators are advised to consider how any changes to communications are to be implemented.