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DC scheme return

Provides additional information and resources to help you complete a scheme return for a defined contribution (DC) scheme.

This information supplements the questions and answers in scheme return.

There have been no changes to this year's scheme return from last year. However, if your scheme has between two and 11 members, it may have been more than a year since your last scheme return. Please see below for information on changes we’ve made in the last three years.

Complete your scheme return using Exchange, our online service.

Select the help icon in Exchange exchange help icon for further guidance to a particular scheme return question.

For further information on how to use Exchange, including how to associate to a registered scheme, see Exchange: online service

Exchange help files

Exchange help
View the help text for scheme return questions on Exchange. You don’t need to login to access this page.

Note: some of the help text names may appear more than once due to the way Exchange manages information.

All DC schemes: changes in the last 3 years

The following changes apply to small and large DC schemes:

With-profit investments

You will be asked if the scheme is invested in with profits, and what features the scheme has if this is the case. We’re also asking what percentage of total DC assets the investment represents, and if any penalties are applied on surrender.

The new question includes an option to select ‘not known’ as your answer. If you select this response we expect you to take steps to obtain this information in time for your next scheme return. 


You will be asked to confirm when you last measured the ‘common’ data that you hold, your assessment of how much you have, and how accurate it is. You’ll also have to answer this for your ‘scheme-specific’ data – this is the new name for ‘conditional’ data, which has been changed to improve understanding of its importance.

We are asking for this information to help us track the progress of schemes as they incorporate the standards that we expect of schemes of all sizes. By measuring certain data, we can determine behaviours which contribute to schemes being well run, and encourage better record-keeping.

While the scheme return asks whether you have measured data within the last three years, we expect trustees to review their data at least once a year. You should take steps to put a data review process in place. 

Consent to electronic services

We'd like to deliver documents by email wherever possible, we are therefore asking you to consent to this.

How to update your details and consent preferences

Please note that action is required for each of your schemes, so details must be updated, and the consent option selected for each scheme individually.

Follow the step-by-step guide below to update the contact details and consent preferences:

1. Start by logging on to Exchange

2. Click on the ‘My Schemes’ tab on the top of the screen

3. Select the relevant scheme from the list in your view

4. Select 'Update Scheme Details'

5. Select 'Contact Details'

6. Select ‘Scheme Return Contact’ to check contact details are correct

7. Click amend if necessary to update details

8. Click 'confirm’ or 'cancel’ depending on whether a change has been made

9. Select 'Consent to electronic service’ and provide consent by ticking the box. If you do not wish to consent, leave the ‘Consent to electronic service’ box unticked

10. Finish by clicking the 'Save’ button

By completing this process we can make sure you receive emails containing important information required for your Scheme Return Notice, and other important documents or notifications relating to scheme(s) you manage.

DC scheme return: example form

DC scheme return: example form
PDF 4091KB , 26 pages
Download an example form to refer to when completing a scheme return for a DC scheme.