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Regulator welcomes independent assurance for latest master trust

Ref: PN15-43
Thursday 15 October 2015

The Pensions Regulator today welcomed the news that the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the pension scheme established by the government with a public service obligation to accept all employers, has become the latest occupational defined contribution (DC) master trust to obtain independent assurance.

The voluntary assurance framework was developed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in association with the regulator to support auditors to provide independent assurance reports for the trustees of master trusts.

In addition, NEST has been added by The Pensions Regulator to a list of master trust pension schemes open to employers of all sizes, and which have been independently reviewed to help to demonstrate that they are administered to a high standard.

Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director at The Pensions Regulator, said:

"I am pleased that the number of DC master trusts attaining independent master trust assurance continues to grow. Master trust assurance provides employers with the confidence to choose a master trust that is being operated to a high standard and that can evidence the presence of the quality features we expect to see in a well-run scheme. It also acts as a check against providers operating in this marketplace that do not have the necessary resources or competence.

"We continue to strongly encourage and support all master trusts to adopt the voluntary assurance framework. As part of our discussions with government, we are looking at how else we can ensure master trusts deliver good member outcomes."

ICAEW has published guidance on applying the assurance framework to occupational DC master trusts (PDF, 538kb, 36 pages).

Editor's notes

  1. The framework sets out how trustees should report against a series of 'control objectives' related to governance and administration, which are aligned with the regulator's DC quality features, and which procedures practitioners must undertake.
  2. The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. We have objectives to: protect members’ benefits; reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).
  3. ICAEW promotes, develops and supports over 142,000 chartered accountants worldwide. ICAEW provides qualifications and professional development, shares knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protects the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

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Tim Marks 01273 662092