7: The Money and Pensions Service: are your scheme booklets up to date?
Earlier this year, the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) and Pensions Wise were brought together into one single organisation called the ‘Money and Pensions Service’. In 2018, the dispute resolution function of TPAS was also transferred to The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).
Under the Disclosure Regulations 2013, trustees are required to provide certain information to scheme members. The Disclosure Regulations 2013 have now been amended to require that trustees provide information to members about the availability of the Money and Pensions Service (rather than TPAS) to assist with questions or issues, the role of TPO and when the Pensions Regulator (TPR) may intervene, as well as the postal and electronic address of each of these bodies.
Notably, the Disclosure Regulations 2013 have not yet been amended to reflect the transfer of TPAS’ dispute resolution function to TPO. A joint letter from the Minister for Pensions and TPR in September 2018 stated that the legislative changes required to formally enact these changes are unlikely to be made until next year, due to constraints on parliamentary time. However, TPR has indicated that, in the meantime, it will not penalise schemes for non-compliance with the existing legislation where they have updated their signposting to reflect the current position (ie that disputes and complaints should be referred to TPO and general requests for information or guidance to TPAS).
In order to ensure that members are signposted to the correct organisations, if they have not already done so, trustees should ensure that scheme booklets and other communications are updated as soon as possible to reflect the changes outlined above.