Our policy highlights

Our 2019/20 Policy Highlights

Our policy work delivers on the issues that matter most to our members. Here’s how we’ve captained positive change in pensions and lifetime savings. 

RETIREMENT LIVING STANDARDS: PICTURE YOUR FUTURE

Since the introduction of automatic enrolment on 1 October 2012, more than 10 million people are quietly putting money away for the future for the first time, or saving more.

But savings can commence with a low level of engagement, outcomes are uncertain and there is a range of options for spending pensions savings at retirement.

Now, more than ever, savers need to engage with their own retirement outcomes. But our research showed that 77% of savers don’t know how much they’ll need in retirement and only 16% of savers can give a figure. 

The Retirement Living Standards show what life in retirement looks like at three different levels, and what a range of common goods and services would cost for each level. They provide a powerful and immediate picture of life in retirement – so you can picture your future.

47 major organisations including pension schemes, employee benefits consultants, fintechs and others are already using the Standards in their communications with an ever growing number of savers.

Visit www.retirementlivingstandards.org.uk to explore the basket of goods, see examples and download the full research behind the standards. 

COST TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE 

The Cost Transparency Initiative is taking direct action to standardise reporting of costs and charges by asset managers and other pension scheme suppliers – to ensure savers are getting the best value for their investments.

CTI tools and templates enable trustees to capture information and make clear costs and charges comparisons across their different investment management suppliers and asset classes. That means they can scrutinise and challenge costs and performance. 

Since their launch in May 2019 the templates and guidance have been downloaded 19,000 times. They’re already helping pension funds with £440 billion assets to compare investment costs and drive better value for 25 million scheme members. 

In 2019, Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “High fees can eat into savers’ pension pots and add to employers’ costs. This initiative will help pension schemes take a holistic view of costs and charges as they strive to ensure their members get value for money.”

Visit the Cost Transparency Initiative website for more details.  

INVESTING FOR GOOD: ESG AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change poses a systemic risk to nearly all businesses and all sectors. It will impact the value of scheme investments and, ultimately, that of individuals' retirement savings. And growing public interest in ESG issues will lead to more questions about how scheme members’ money is invested

2019 and 2020 have brought continued regulatory and policy change for private and public sector schemes. We’ve published practical guidance to help pension funds comply with new ESG requirements, Made Simple Guides on ESG and Impact Investing and a standalone guide on climate risk. 

Our 2020 stewardship and voting guidelines offer practical guidance for schemes in acting as good stewards of their assets, including how to exercise votes on ESG and other issues during the 2020 AGM season – after our 2019 voting review highlighted how these issues were treated last year. 

And at our Annual Conference 2020 we’ll publish our recommendations for action on ESG following a call for evidence and a series of roundtables over the summer.  

Find our more about Investing for Good here.

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Covid-19: we used PLSA member insights to produce best practice guides and webinars to support pension fund governance bodies facing tough questions about administration, governance, communications, covenant strength, funding and investment during the crisis. We successfully lobbied Government to continue automatic enrolment, delay the General Levy increase, and for extensions to Government consultation deadlines.
  • DB Funding Code: we helped secure a useful delay to the consultation during Covid-19. Now we are supporting TPR’s efforts to bring clarity to the code by working through the policy and practical issues with our Policy Board and DB Committee. 
  • Pensions Dashboard: we’re heavily involved in the Pensions Dashboards Programme on issues including functionality and data.  
  • Master trusts: we helped make sure the authorisation regime strikes the right balance between being robust and proportionate – and continue to explore financial reserving requirements and small pots issues 
  • TPR Regulation: we published a template to help schemes complete their DC Chair statements, in response to member concerns about TPR’s enforcement decisions. 
  • LGPS: we’ve supported Local Authorities on good governance, investment and the impact of the McCloud judgement. 
  • DC Decumulation: we’re setting out how savers canaccess well-governed, cost effective retirement solutions that cater for their changing income needs throughout retirement.
  • Superfunds: the work of our DB Taskforce paved the way for the new superfunds, which could offer new security for DB scheme members. 
  • Contingent charging ban: we successfully lobbied FCA to ban contingent charging on DB transfers.
  • Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill: we lobbied Government and Parliament to secure key   amendments to ensure pension funds’ status as creditors was not deprioritised over banks debts. Pension Schemes Bill: we have lobbied on key elements of the dashboard and clause 107, which have now seen opposition and backbench amendment addressing our concerns. 

 

HOW PLSA MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO OUR POLICY WORK

Policy Board

  • Shapes the policy agenda for all aspects of retirement income
  • 17 members with senior and strategic experience 
  • 58.8% female 

Policy committees

  • Support the Policy Board, giving advice and carrying out delegated work
  • Up to 12 subject expert representing key membership groups on each committee
  • 41% female.  

Reference groups

  • Support the PLSA executive with views, intelligence and input on specific issues.
  • Mainly virtual groups of up to 100 members.