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DB and mixed benefit scheme return

Additional information and resources to help you prepare for and complete a scheme return for defined benefit (DB) schemes and those offering mixed benefits (hybrid).

See scheme return for further information about completing the scheme return, including the most common queries.

Prepare for your scheme return

You have to submit a scheme return for all DB or hybrid schemes you’re responsible for.

We will issue your scheme return notice to you from the end of January 2021.

Given the current climate, we’re asking schemes to allow for more time to prepare for completing the scheme return.

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the example DB and mixed benefit scheme return (PDF, 318kb, 44 pages) and gather the information you might need.

For DB schemes, please also prepare to answer two additional questions that may be added if we update our systems, where you will have to provide:

  • a website link to your published statement of investment principles
  • your assessment of the employer covenant grade – and where it would fall in our grading system

We expect trustees to review the strength of the employer covenant supporting a DB scheme regularly. At a minimum, the employer covenant grading should be reviewed at every scheme valuation. For more information about assessing employer covenant, see our employer covenant guidance.

We are also looking at updating our systems to streamline the scheme return process and encouraging you to download PDFs of previous scheme returns as these may not be available after 31 December 2020.

We will contact you again in early January to confirm the final questions and let you know whether the system updates will be in place for your scheme return submission.

We’re allowing more time this year for you to complete and submit the scheme return. Once you receive your notice, you’ll have until 31 March to complete and submit it to us.

If you have any queries about the scheme return contact us.

Complete your scheme return

You will need to complete and submit your scheme return to us using Exchange, our online service.

Make sure your login details for Exchange are up to date so you can access your account to complete the scheme return.

Select the help icon in Exchange for further guidance on a particular scheme return question. You can view all the help text for scheme return questions without having to login to Exchange. Some of the help text headings may appear more than once due to the way Exchange manages information.

See further information on how to use Exchange, including how to associate to a registered scheme.

Your legal responsibility

As a trustee, it’s your legal duty to complete a scheme return for every scheme that you run. Please contact us if the number of scheme members falls below two or another exemption applies.

If a scheme return hasn’t been completed and submitted by the deadline stated in the scheme return notice, this is a breach of the Pensions Act 2004 and you risk being fined.