Lack of advisers''toolkit' knowledge raises TPR concerns
UK - The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has admitted to concerns that certain parts of the pension industry, particularly advisers, are "not as familiar" with its 'toolkit' on trustee knowledge and understanding (TKU) requirements as they claim to be.
In a report on the consultation responses relating to the draft revised TKU code of practice and scope guidance, the regulator revealed most respondents were supportive of the existing regime and despite early concerns over increasing expectations of trustees, most recognised that the requirements "have not changed substantially".
However in response to the decision by TPR to split the scope guidance into three versions - one for defined benefit (DB) trustees, one for defined contribution (DC) and one for trustees of DC schemes with between 12-99 members - the industry suggested the e-learning 'Trustee Toolkit' should be complemented by scheme specific training.
TPR noted: "This is consistent with our view that different requirements will be appropriate for trustees of different types of schemes. Our view is that scheme specific learning would be of greater value if it were pitched at an audience who were at a 'post toolkit' level."
However the regulator highlighted that some industry feedback on the design of the toolkit - such as the need for a self-assessment tool and a clear statement of the TKU requirements covered by a module, which are both already available - "lead us to suspect that some respondents are not as familiar with the toolkit as they profess themselves to be".
It added this is of "particular concern where they are themselves providing learning to trustees and advising trustees on the value of using the toolkit", although it noted it would try to make the existing functions "more prominent" when it reviews the toolkit in line with the revised scope guidance later in the year.
The revised code and guidance, published for consultation in October 2008, places more focus on buy-outs and buy-ins, administration, the importance of the employer covenant and references to the forthcoming implementation of the personal accounts regime and auto-enrolment scheduled for 2012. (See earlier IPE article: Trustee knowledge update includes buyout focus)
Tony Hobman, chief executive of TPR, said: "We are delighted to see so much positive feedback on the TKU code. It is particularly heartening to hear an acknowledgement of the change in the confidence with which trustees now approach their responsibilities. Some areas for improvement were suggested and we have taken these on board, but there is no evidence that fundamental changes are needed to the text on which we consulted."
The draft revised code - which is reviewed every two years - has now been laid before parliament with the expectation it will come into effect later in the year.
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