Latest articles from Sarah Cowburn

Is your board being torn by divergent interests?

Any other business: The Financial Conduct Authority’s recent call for evidence on transaction fee disclosure is further evidence of a tightening up on charges, but in-scheme adviser conflicts also pose a threat to cost-efficiency.

Kingfisher puts trivial commutation on ice to focus on member data

Kingfisher Pension Scheme has said it is holding fire on a trivial commutation derisking drive to focus instead on data cleansing, while research shows 83 per cent of members would consider such a transfer.

The Weekly Wrap: March 6 edition

ECB, Getty

A round-up of this week's pensions stories from across the FT group, from insurer RSA’s liabilities stymying a future break-up, to the ECB cutting the ribbon on its bond-buying program. 

FCA bolsters transfer protections in home-straight to April

The Financial Conduct Authority has tightened rules around advice on transfers out of defined benefit in its third announcement this week, as the April reform deadline approaches.

Pressure for transparency builds as City watchdog loads on demands

The Financial Conduct Authority has delivered a defined contribution charges double-whammy this week with the release of its final rules for the default fund charge cap, plus a call for evidence on the disclosure of transaction charges.

How the MNRPF ruling affects your scheme-employer balance

Legal experts have said a High Court ruling charts new territory for employer covenant rules and clarifies the position of members with a final salary link, as regulators balance the needs of employers and schemes.

Do regulator and PPF need their heads knocked together over 'last man standing'?

Problems could lie ahead for schemes seeking to qualify as 'last man standing' when completing their annual scheme returns. 

LMS multi-employer schemes are eligible to pay a reduced Pension Protection Fund levy because the insolvency of an individual employer will not result in the related part of the scheme being passed on to the PPF.

But pensions lawyers have identified a discrepancy between documents issued by the PPF and the Pensions Regulator regarding the classification of multi-employer schemes as such.

There is currently a misalignment between criteria laid out by the PPF in its levy determination for 2015/2016 and a subsequent policy statement, both released in December last year.

Robert West, partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie, said: “There is some uncertainty as to whether schemes categorized in the past as last man standing will necessarily qualify… this time around.”

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Premier Coffee's AE staging met by radio silence

After a year preparing for auto-enrolment, Costa franchise Premier Coffee did not receive a single follow-up enquiry from its 120 eligible staff, and only a handful of opt-outs, demonstrating the engagement challenge facing UK employers.

Pension tools not up to scratch for post-April flexibilities, say experts

Communication experts have called for schemes to avoid jargon and break down complexity in online illustration tools, as research reveals wide variation across offerings and patchy understanding of reforms.

How Devon is approaching its alt equity smart beta strategy

Devon Pension Fund has set out its approach to its mixed alternative equity index, using the smart beta strategy as a middle way between active management and the fund’s large passive allocation.