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UK roundup: The Pensions Regulator, Pensions Infrastructure Platform, JLT

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The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun surveying the occupation defined contribution (DC) market to ascertain the prevalence of exit fees and charges, sometimes charged to members looking to transfer out.

The UK government is to begin consulting on how to address excessive early exit fees placed on members, and improve the transfer process for DC savers – particularly in light of the new freedoms.

TPR will question a sample of DC trust schemes, while the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to insurance-based DC providers seeking similar information.

The regulator said the information would complement its work with DC schemes on how they adapt to offering flexible retirement options, now that annuitisation is no longer compulsory.

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In other news, the Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP) has secured more than £1bn (€1.4bn) in pension fund assets to be directed towards UK assets.

The outfit, created and managed by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said the two specialist funds managed by Dalmore Capital and Aviva Investors secured nearly £650m in capital, alongside a further separate mandate.

In its half-yearly update, the PIP said it agreed a separate £370m co-investment alongside Dalmore Capital, but the NAPF declined to provide further details on the investment, or which schemes were involved.

The PIP is continuing to work towards authorisation from the FCA to set up the platform to become a not-for-profit asset manager and make direct infrastructure investments on behalf of UK funds.

Meanwhile, the defined benefit (DB) deficit at private sector schemes has fallen over the month of June to £259bn, according to JLT Employee Benefits.

The marginal fall of £6bn came as the result of a slight pick-up in yields bringing down liabilities by £63bn to £1.48trn.

Asset values also fell by £57bn, providing the slight improvement in funding levels.

Over the last 12 months, however, the situation has worsened, with funding levels falling from 87% to 83%, while liabilities are 11% higher.

Asset values, now a total of £1.22trn, have also risen 5.6%.

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