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PASA publishes master trust transition guidance as further consolidation expected

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The Pensions Administration Standards Association’s (PASA) Master Trust Transition Working Group (MTTWG) has published its first guidance on DC Master Trust Transition.

Earlier this year, PASA, the independent body dedicated to driving up standards in pensions administration, invited key individuals from across the industry with wide ranging DC expertise to work together to provide guidance around master trusts.

Transitions of members to and from DC master trusts could happen for many different reasons, but the guidance focuses on the two most common scenarios:

• Master trust to master trust where ‘Continuity Option One’ is being followed
• Single employer DC trusts to master trust

David Porter Chair of MTTWG, says: “Auto enrolment led to a surge in new DC master trusts.  Concerns about how they would all provide good outcomes for members led to a raft of new of regulation such as the Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) authorisation regime and ongoing supervision being put in place to safeguard member savings.

“As a result, these DC master trusts have a high standard to meet, and rightly so. They must ensure high governance benchmarks and new financial reserving requirements. Beyond financial and operational aspects there are also requirements around how one DC master trust transitions to another. This is central to our guidance.”

Tracy Weller, Board Sponsor to the MTTWG, says: “The pace of consolidation continues to build, even more so now with a positive nudge from the TPR for market consolidation and for underperforming DC schemes to consider moving to DC master trusts. Once we’re in a post authorisation environment, market dynamics will also come into play. More individual employers are likely to move between these DC master trusts and more single employer DC schemes will transition to one of the authorised master trusts. Our guidance will support trustees and the wider industry as the market continues to change, evolve and consolidate.”

The Pensions Regulator says: “We welcome PASA’s guidance which sets out the practical steps trustees and administrators should take to protect savers when managing a transfer. Authorisation is putting safeguards around master trusts, giving reassurance to trustees of both exiting master trusts and consolidating single-employer DC schemes transferring their members into these schemes. Prioritising data as well as putting savers and employers at the heart, including keeping them informed, is key to a successful transfer and continuing confidence in pensions.”

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