04 June 2024

The Pensions team has launched its General Code Checklist to support governing bodies of pension schemes (trustees and scheme managers) with navigating and understanding their obligations under the Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) General Code of Practice (the General Code).

TPR issued the General Code earlier this year and it came into force on 28 March 2024. The Code consists of 51 short modules (many of which require a written policy to be implemented by the scheme) and consolidates and replaces 10 of TPR’s existing codes of practice on the governance and administration of pension schemes. Trustees will need to undertake an exercise to ensure that they are compliant with the various requirements.

A brief overview of the General Code can be found here, which provides some key actions that trustees should prioritise. Below, we explain the ways in which the Burges Salmon Pensions team can help you via the various tools and checklists we have prepared, which will help your scheme identify the required actions and ultimately simplify the compliance process for you.

Resources for all schemes

The task of complying with the General Code for schemes can at first glance seem overwhelming. However, it doesn’t need to be! The Pensions team has created some useful tools in order to assist schemes with compliance with the General Code and to simplify the process as much as possible. The following are applicable to all schemes:

General Checklist

This checklist provides a helpful summary of the key provisions of the General Code, highlighting: which provisions contain new legal or regulatory requirements; and where written policies or procedures are required by the General Code.

This is free to access online by request. Please get in touch with Susannah Young to request a free copy of the Burges Salmon General Code Checklist.

ESG Checklist

This checklist helps governing bodies identify their ESG obligations under the Code and consider how they are met. As well as being useful as an ‘audit’ to ensure compliance, it can help with knowledge and understanding requirements since we have brought the requirements together in an accessible form. We are able to complete this checklist for you on production of certain documents (including your statement of investment principles and implementation statement) and by working with you and your other advisers.

For those governing bodies wanting to undertake a broader exercise, we can also provide a checklist of ESG requirements in relation to the Statement of Investment Principles and Implementation Statement and under the Climate Change Governance and Reporting Requirements if relevant.

If you are interested in this service, then please get in touch with Kate Granville Smith, Pensions Legal Director.

Cyber security offering

Our Pensions team also offer a fixed fee cyber security offering which has been designed to meet the minimum requirements for schemes to comply with, which has been updated to comply with the new expectations under the General Code and TPR’s related cyber security guidance. The five elements that make up our package are set out in the table on the first page of this Cyber Security Compliance Trustee Checklist.

Please get in touch with Richard Pettit, Pensions Partner, if you would like to find out more about this.

Resources for SSASs and small DB schemes

The General Code offers no exemptions for schemes of a particular type – therefore ALL schemes have to comply with at least some parts of the General Code. That being said, the General Code emphasises the need for schemes to achieve compliance in a way that is proportionate to the “size, nature, scale, and complexity of the activities of the scheme”. Therefore, we have also prepared separate checklists for:

  • Small Self-Administered Schemes (DB and DC), and
  • DB schemes with less than 100 members.

Some of the modules of the Code are inapplicable to these schemes. This can lift a significant administrative burden from the trustees; but understanding which modules do not apply to your scheme may not be easily identifiable. Our checklist, though, makes this a much easier task by explaining what modules schemes must, should, and do not need to comply with. Therefore, these checklists differ from the General Checklist as they are tailored towards these particular types of smaller schemes.

If you are interested in viewing any of these checklists, please contact Clive Pugh, Pensions Partner.

Resources for public service pension schemes

The team – using its public sector experience – have also produced a General Code checklist to address how public service pension schemes (and specifically the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)) should seek to comply with the General Code. By their nature, some of the General Code requirements cannot apply or will apply in a different way, taking account of them being public service pension schemes and established (and administered) in a different manner (via regulations) to a private sector DB scheme.

As managers and trustees of such schemes will be aware, different expectations are often set for such schemes – which can be hard to track in the plain copy of the General Code. Our checklist, though, makes this a much easier task by explaining what modules schemes must, should, and do not need to be complied with by the LGPS and other public service pension schemes.

If you are interested in accessing this checklist, please contact Michael Hayles, Pensions Partner.

The Burges Salmon Pensions team are well-placed to help your scheme with complying with the General Code, whether: (a) you are after a general overview of the Code, (b) you are keen to ensure compliance specifically in relation to ESG or cyber security, or (c) your scheme is smaller, in wind-up, or a public service pension scheme.

Key contact

Susannah Young

Susannah Young Partner

  • Pensions Services
  • Trustee Advice and Training
  • DC Expertise

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