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

13 Aug 2015: New TPR covenant guidance
Today the Pensions Regulator published its most comprehensive guidance yet on how trustees should assess the strength of their sponsor. 

The document is not necessarily a change of direction in the way TPR looks at covenant and is very much how we approach assessment.  The key points are:
  • covenant is the legal obligation and financial ability to support the scheme
  • investment and funding risks taken should reflect covenant
  • assessment should be forward-looking
  • for affordability schemes should be treated equitably with other stakeholders
  • consider external help where difficult to self-assess or challenge objectively
The full document can be found on TPR's website here.

Argyll comment:

TPR has had input from a range of trustees and practitioners and the result, in our view, is a very practical and helpful guide reflecting more than 10 years of covenant assessment experience.  There are useful case studies to help put the theory into practice and specific considerations for not-for-profits and multi-employer schemes.

Trustees will find useful the discussion around whether to self-assess or not.  Many of our new clients over the past 18 months have used an external covenant adviser for the first time.  This latest guidance highlighting the potential complexity and pitfalls of assessment will no doubt convince further boards to seek external help. 


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