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Managers Of Schemes

Volume 77: debated on Thursday 18 April 1985

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  • '(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide who is to be treated as a manager of an occupational pension scheme for any of the purposes—
  • (a) of the Social Security Acts 1975 to 1985; or
  • (b) of the Social Security Act 1973.
  • (2) Section 166 of the Social Security Act 1975 shall apply to the power to make regulations under subsection (1) above as it applies to powers to make regulations under that Act.
  • (3) Regulations made under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
  • (4) In this section "occupational pension scheme" has the meaning assigned to it by section 66 of the Social Security Pensions Act 1975 2.'.—[Mr. Whitney.]
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 100 and 101.

    This is essentially a technical and clarifying clause that gives power to prescribe who the managers are in a pension scheme which is not set up under trust law. Various duties under this Bill and earlier Acts fall to the trustees of a pension scheme or, in the case of a scheme not set up under trust and therefore having no trusteeism, to its managers. Almost all private sector schemes are set up as trusts—they need to do so to gain tax approved status—but the statutory schemes for public service employees, and a few others, are not. In these cases, it will not always be clear who should be treated as the manager and this would be particularly important if, for example, such a scheme did not comply with requirements to disclose information to its members and the members wished to enforce these requirements.

    The amendments are consequential on the new clause.

    I accept what my hon. Friend says, but there has been a proliferation of pension schemes, and many are written under somewhat odd trustees, particularly smaller schemes. Many of us hope that that proliferation of schemes will be greatly increased by legislation to be introduced at a later date. Therefore, should not my hon. Friend take the power, at the same time as he is taking the power to define who are managers of these schemes, to define who are the trustees of these schemes? Sometimes this is not entirely clear. No amendment is called for at this stage, but I hope that my hon. Friend will bear this point in mind in case an amendment needs to be introduced at a later date.

    I shall consider carefully my hon. Friend's point, because I know that he has great knowledge of these matters. My instinctive reaction is to go carefully. As he will recognise, while we need appropriate safeguards, we also need to avoid overburdening schemes and pension trusts unnecessarily.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.