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Master trust supervision evolves to focus on investments, data and innovation

Ref: PN24-25

Issued: Monday 8 July 2024

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) announced today it is evolving its supervision of master trusts to focus on investments, data quality and standards, and innovation at retirement.

Neil Bull, TPR’s Executive Director of Market Oversight, told an audience of master trust chairs of trustees, trustees, scheme strategists and scheme funders at a TPR event the move would see master trusts become the 'gold standard for pension provision'.

Speaking at the London event, Neil said: “Value has to be the guiding light for all that we do. For our engagement with master trusts that means: A focus on investments. A focus on data quality and standards. And a focus on innovation at retirement.”

He explained the shift follows the success of the master trust authorisation and supervisory regime, which resulted in high levels of governance and administration for master trusts.

Neil added he wanted master trusts to see their relationship with TPR as a partnership, which mitigates harms, identifies opportunities for savers and delivers value.

And he called on master trusts to candidly share their thoughts so TPR can explore their concerns and build sophisticated evidence bases to understand the bigger picture.

He added many master trusts will have already seen a difference in how TPR engages with them on investments. This includes expert-to-expert conversations where a multi-disciplinary team from TPR engaged with a master trust’s investment and strategic experts as well as its trustees.

He said TPR would:

  • probe and challenge more on how a master trust’s approach to investments delivers for savers
  • investigate how a master trust is seeking the best possible long-term risk-adjusted returns
  • look more broadly at master trust investment governance practice and investment decision making
  • request deep dives into the systems and processes of master trusts

Neil added: “Our visits need not be cause for concern but seen instead as a learning opportunity for us both. This will mirror the activity we see in the private sector when master trusts showcase their offer to employers explaining their operations.”

Notes for editors

We have published two speeches from the Master Trust Conference. Neil Bull’s speech, The Evolution of Master Trust Supervision, and TPR’s Chief Executive, Nausicaa Delfas’ speech: We want to help master trusts deliver real value for pension savers.

TPR is the regulator of workplace trust-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are to:

  • protect members’ benefits 
  • reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund
  • promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes
  • maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties
  • 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)

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01273 349511

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