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DB and hybrid (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.

Important

Scheme return notices will be issued from 1 February 2023.

Complete and submit your scheme return by 31 March 2023.

2023 scheme return process

For most schemes, the 2023 scheme return will be issued in two parts again:

  • Part 1 will be completed in an online form.
  • Part 2 will be completed in Exchange as usual.
  • We’ll also send the scheme return notice in two parts – one email for part 1 and one email for part 2.
Relevant small schemes (RSS) and executive pension schemes (EPS) will only receive one scheme return notice email, with a link to complete the scheme return in Exchange.

Changes to questions this year

There are some changes and updates to the scheme return this year. The main change is the updated asset breakdown (see details below).

You can view further information on the new asset breakdown questions and other changes made this year in the example scheme return.

Asset breakdown: new information requirements

We've updated the asset breakdown section to reflect the outcome of our joint consultation with the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

New tier-based system

We’ve introduced a new tier-based system for providing information about the scheme’s assets.

Each scheme will be assigned a tier based on their total liabilities:

  • Less than £30 million – Tier 1 (Simplified)
  • £30 million to less than £1.5 billion – Tier 2 (Standard)
  • £1.5 billion or more – Tier 3 (Enhanced)

Tier 2 and 3 schemes need to provide more detailed information about the bonds and equities they hold. Tier 3 schemes also need to provide information on risk factor stresses.

Schemes in the lower tiers have the option to trade up to Tier 2 or 3 and provide more information. Submitting this information will help TPR assess a scheme’s investment risk more accurately and provide the PPF with more detailed information to calculate a scheme’s PPF levy invoice.

Changes to asset categories

We have also removed these categories:

  • insurance funds
  • hedge funds
  • commodities

And we have added:

  • diversified growth funds (DGFs)
  • absolute return funds (available for Tiers 2 and 3)

See the example scheme return and the asset breakdown help text for detailed guidance on how to complete the updated asset breakdown.

Prepare for your scheme return

Before taking any other action, log into Exchange and make sure your contact details are up-to-date by 31 December 2022. If you update contact details after this date, the scheme return notice may not be delivered to the updated contact.

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the example DB and hybrid scheme returns. They include all the questions you will be asked, including the new questions, so you can gather the information you’ll need to complete them.

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

Receiving the scheme return notice

You will receive your scheme return notice from 1 February 2023. It will be in two parts unless your scheme is an RSS or an EPS.

We will send both parts to the same contact:

  • For schemes that receive the scheme return notice directly from us, this will be the designated scheme return contact.
  • For schemes where the scheme return has been delegated to a scheme adviser (for example, a third-party scheme administrator), this will be the designated scheme adviser.  

Receiving part 1

The first part will be emailed to you and include a link to the online form. This is a secure link and unique to the recipient of the email. No one else will be able to access the link unless you share it with them.

This email will be sent from paperlessSRN@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk. Double check the email comes from this address before opening the link.

If you haven’t received the first part of your scheme return notice by 6 February 2023, check your spam filters and speak to your IT team to request that paperlessSRN@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk is whitelisted. If you still haven’t received it, contact us.

Receiving part 2 (Exchange)

The second part will again be sent by email and look the same as last year’s scheme return notice. It will contain a link to the rest of the questions to be completed in Exchange as normal.

You’ll have until 31 March 2023 to complete and submit the scheme return to us.

Complete your scheme return

Part 1

Complete the first part of the scheme return by clicking the link to the online form in part 1 of the scheme return notice. The questions in the online form will have guidance alongside them. You can also look at this guidance in the example scheme return. Further information on using the online form is below.

Part 2 (Exchange)

Complete the rest of your scheme return as normal in Exchange. Select the help icon in Exchange for further guidance on a particular question. 

You can view all the help text for Exchange scheme return questions without having to log in 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.

Using the online form to answer the questions in part 1

The form is secure and similar in format to a survey. It contains multiple choice questions as well as text boxes where you can enter information. Questions marked with a * are mandatory.

A screen shot showing the part 1 scheme return online form. The main features of the form are highlighted.

The form is split into pages, and you can see your progress in the bottom right corner. Your responses will be saved, but only while the form is open in a browser window. If you close the form before you select ‘Submit’, you’ll have to start again. 

Sharing the online form for review and approval

We understand you may need to share responses to the new questions for approval before submitting. 

The simplest way to do this is to take screenshots of your responses in the form using the ‘print screen’ button on your keyboard. You can then copy and paste the screenshots into a Word document which can then be shared.

Submitting the online form

Once you have answered the part 1 questions, you will need to confirm who is authorised to submit this part of the scheme return. The usual scheme return contact details will be displayed, but if another person is submitting the form then their details can be entered.

A screen shot of the declare and submit section of the part 1 scheme return form. The submit button at the bottom of the form is highlighted.

Once you have completed this section, click ‘Submit’ to submit part 1 of your scheme return. You will then see a confirmation screen that you can print or save as a PDF for your records.

If you submit the form by mistake or need to make changes at a later point, then click the link in the scheme return notice email again. You will then see a blank form where you can enter and submit all the information again. The latest submitted information will be saved in our records.

Your legal responsibility

As the trustee or manager of a registrable scheme, you must provide us with a scheme return, unless the scheme has only one member, has wound up or another exemption applies.

If a scheme return hasn’t been completed and submitted by the deadline stated in the scheme return notice, this will be a breach of the Pensions Act 2004 and you risk being fined. Your scheme’s PPF levy calculations may also be impacted by late submissions.