4 May 2021: Argyll opens Leeds office

17 Jun 2020: TPR updates Contribution Deferral guidance

5 Aug 2019: TPR's tougher stance on recovery plans

7 Mar 2019: TPR’s Annual Funding Statement a game-changer

7 Dec 2018: DWP publishes superfund consultation

26 Jun 2017: TPR agrees settlement with Coats

30 Apr 2017: PM promises TPR M&A powers

28 Feb 2017: TPR agrees settlement with Sir Philip Green

9 Nov 2016: Brexit so far

8 Nov 2016: BHS ripple effect

2 Nov 2016: Sir Philip Green sent warning notice

1 Nov 2016: Argyll Financial becomes Argyll Covenant

3 Oct 2016: Tata Steel update

2 Jun 2016: BHS to be liquidated

29 Mar 2016: Tata plans sale of UK Steel

3 Sep 2015: TPR takes dim view of late valuations

13 Aug 2015: New TPR covenant guidance

28 May 2015: Contribution notice in Carrington Wire case

22 Dec 2014: Third warning notice for Guinness Peat

18 Dec 2014: New PPF rules for Asset-Backed Contributions

19 Aug 2014: TPR announces Lehman Brothers settlement

10 Jun 2014: TPR publishes revised funding code

27 Mar 2014: EC postpones holistic balance sheet

20 Mar 2014: PPF announces new insolvency risk model

17 Mar 2014: PPF guarantees harder to certify

7 Feb 2014: Argyll Financial submits consultation response

2 Dec 2013: Regulator publishes new draft funding code

19 Nov 2013: Asset-backed contributions guidance from TPR

22 Oct 2013: FSD warning helps MF Global scheme buyout

10 Sep 2013: TPR supportive of Kodak restructuring

31 Jul 2013: Schneider Electric acquires Invensys for £3.4bn

24 Jul 2013: Supreme Court overturns FSD super-priority

8 May 2013: Support for employers in TPR's Statement

8 May 2013: Support for employers in TPR's Statement

TPR highlights for trustees the flexibilities in agreeing Technical Provisions and recovery plans, supporting employers facing challenging economic conditions.

The statement highlighted the emphasis on flexibility and is in tune with the Government’s desire to shift the balance of regulation in favour of private sector investment and growth, recognising that recent economic conditions have put defined benefit sponsors under significant financial pressure.  As part of this, the Government will be providing the Pensions Regulator with a new statutory objective to support scheme funding arrangements that are ‘compatible with sustainable growth for the sponsoring employer’.

Key points of emphasis (perhaps rather than completely new points) are:

  • Trustees can be flexible in setting valuation assumptions whilst still being prudent
  • Trustees can be flexible in recovery plans tailoring them to the employer’s circumstances and what is reasonably affordable
  • Trustees are encouraged to take and be able to demonstrate an integrated approach to addressing covenant, investment, and funding risks
  • TPR is moving away from using triggers such as the 10 year recovery plan

Argyll comment:  this is more of a statement of emphasis rather than a sea-change of TPR’s behaviour.  It could be argued that the flexibility referred to is already part of TPR practice and the May statement is only really one of existing policy.  Nonetheless, the fact that TPR has made this statement emphasising flexibility will no doubt be helpful to employers in upcoming funding discussions.  It also seems likely that an integrated approach to addressing scheme risk will be an important feature when TPR consults on the new Funding Code of Practice in the Autumn, and is something that Argyll Financial firmly supports.

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