Considered in Grand Committee
That the Grand Committee do consider the Occupational Pension Schemes (Master Trusts) Regulations 2018.
My Lords, subject to Parliament’s approval, the regulations will introduce a new approach to how some occupational pension schemes are regulated. From 1 October, both existing and new master trust pension schemes will be required to be authorised by the Pensions Regulator and will be subject to ongoing supervision by the regulator to ensure that they are maintaining the standards required at authorisation. Any scheme that opts out of applying for authorisation, or which fails to meet the required standards upon application, will be required to wind up and transfer its members to an authorised scheme. These regulations will fully commence the authorisation and supervision regime for master trust schemes under the provisions of the Pension Schemes Act 2017. I am satisfied that the Occupational Pension Schemes (Master Trusts) Regulations 2018 are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The past eight years have seen a significant growth in the master trust pensions market. Membership has grown from 200,000 in 2010 to approaching 10 million today. This market now accounts for assets of over £16 billion and will continue to grow over the coming years. The rapid increase in both membership and assets is irrefutably linked to the phenomenal success of auto-enrolment. As a result of this success, we are introducing the new authorisation and supervisory regime, which will ensure that these new savers have assurance that they are saving into quality schemes where their money is well managed and protected.
We have always been clear that our expectation is that a significant number of schemes are unlikely to meet these standards and will need to leave the market. The regulator has worked closely with master trusts over the last two years to help them to prepare for these changes, including offering readiness reviews, which have been taken up by 33 schemes. As a result, it has a good understanding of those schemes that are most likely to close. Where this is the case, it is likely to be because they will not meet the quality standards being introduced, for example, because of poor administration or doubts about long-term financial viability.
I know that a number of noble Lords recently met with the regulator and raised concerns about what will happen to the members of those schemes that opt to close. The Pension Schemes Act 2017 introduced some retrospective measures to help to support the market and to protect members through the transition to full authorisation. These applied from the Bill’s introduction in October 2016 and came into effect on Royal Assent in April last year. They require that any scheme which is facing a triggering event, which is one that is likely to lead to it winding up, must immediately report the fact to the regulator, and charges made by schemes to members are fixed at October 2016 rates until the full regime comes into force.
During discussions on the Bill, noble Lords were clear that our expectation is that the market will respond to these changes. The emerging evidence shows that this is the case. The retrospective measures mean that the regulator is currently working closely and effectively with 20 schemes that have already either closed or signalled their intention to leave the market. This includes assisting them with finding appropriate destinations for their members. The introduction of new provisions earlier this year to ease and speed bulk transfers into and out of defined contribution schemes offers further support to members. In addition, where a scheme has started to wind up, the disclosure regulations ensure that members are made aware, allowing them to decide individually whether to accept the trustees’ default destination or make their own arrangements.
We expect that there will continue to be further consolidation of the market as we approach the October deadline. With this in mind, we are already aware of a number schemes that plan to promote their claim as a potential destination of choice for closing schemes by applying for authorisation at the earliest opportunity. In addition to the pull from schemes looking to expand their presence in the market by taking on members from closing schemes, there is a strong push from employers participating in those schemes as, regardless of the decisions made by the scheme, they remain obligated to meet their automatic enrolment responsibilities by ensuring that their employees are actively contributing to a pension scheme. We have always known that there would be a period of flux and change for the market, requiring close and active management by the Pensions Regulator, and the regulator is delivering.
I turn briefly to the policy. My officials have been working closely with both the Pensions Regulator and the industry to develop the detailed policy design for these regulations. This culminated in a public consultation on the draft regulations which was launched by my right honourable friend in another place, the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, in November last year. The consultation was well received and generated a number of supportive suggestions for technical improvements, which were most welcome. The only real issue of concern at that time was that we were not in a position to confirm the level of the authorisation fee. This was resolved by the time we published our response to the consultation in March this year, where we confirmed that existing schemes would be charged £41,000 and new schemes will pay £23,000. We recognise that this information may have an influence on a scheme’s decision whether to seek authorisation.
Your Lordships will be aware that the regulations have been the subject of scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, neither of which found reason to draw the special attention of your Lordships’ House to these regulations.
I turn to the substance of the regulations. When the Pension Schemes Bill was before the House—ably stewarded by my noble friends Lord Freud, Lord Young and Lord Henley—the scope of the new regime was the subject of considerable debate. Our aim was always to design a regulatory regime that meets the needs of a very diverse market, ranging from long-established schemes, including many not-for-profit organisations, to new schemes set up in the wake of automatic enrolment.
However, during the passage of the Bill we were not able to confirm the details of how the powers to apply the regime to schemes that arguably fall outside the definition set out in the Act and to disapply it to schemes that otherwise would fall within the definition would be used. I can now confirm that the regulations will bring certain types of non-master trusts within scope—for example, what are often known as “cluster schemes” where schemes may have single employers but are run by the same people and are subject to the same rules. They also disapply the authorisation regime to some types of scheme which have specific characteristics that mean they meet the definition but do not face the same risks as master trusts—for example, certain small schemes where all the members are trustees and the majority of the trustees are members of the scheme. The intention remains to provide member protection proportionately.
To bring clarity to the application process, the regulations specify that the scheme must have a business plan approved by the trustees and the scheme funder. This will include detailed information about the ambition and financial strategy of the scheme, as well as providing details relating to the scheme funder, the systems and processes that are used and information on trustees and others in a position of influence over the running of the scheme. In addition, schemes and scheme funders will need to provide their audited accounts and the accounts of any third party funder.
The Act identified the five authorisation criteria that schemes must meet. First, fit and proper: the regulator will need to be satisfied that everyone running a scheme has the appropriate integrity and is competent. Secondly, financially sustainable: the regulator will need to be satisfied that the scheme can fund the operating costs, as well as the additional costs should it get into difficulty and possibly wind up. Thirdly, scheme funder: the regulator also needs to be satisfied that an appropriate entity is standing behind the scheme and is able to meet certain costs. Fourthly, systems and processes: when assessing whether the IT and wider systems and processes are sufficient to ensure that the scheme is run efficiently, the regulator must take account of the scheme’s need to provide an effective service to its members and to deliver the ambitions set out in its business plan. Fifthly, continuity strategy: prepared by the scheme strategist and signed off by the scheme funder, this will need to set out how the scheme plans to respond to and protect the interests of its members in the event of a triggering event. These are circumstances that could lead to the closure of the scheme.
It has always been our intention that once schemes have met the authorisation standard, the regulator’s role will turn to ensuring that standards are maintained. In extremis, the powers in the 2017 Act will enable the regulator to initiate a triggering event and require a scheme to wind up. This is an appropriately robust backstop for the most extreme cases. However, our intention is to avoid such extreme interventions through a supervisory process that supports high standards and encourages schemes to seek support when any difficulties are first identified. The regulator will require schemes to update their business plans regularly, including when significant changes occur, when there is a change to key personnel, or failure to meet a previously declared key milestone, target or planning assumption. The regulator will also be able periodically to request a supervisory return from any scheme. This will inform the regulator’s ongoing risk assessment of schemes and will be based on the five authorisation criteria. While the regulator can only request this return at most once a year, it will have some discretion over how regularly returns are requested, based on an ongoing assessment of the level of risk each scheme is carrying.
The master trust market is growing and vibrant and it is not our intention to interfere in it. We expect schemes to continue to join and exit the market over time. I have set out the process for those entering the market; I now turn to how the regulator will support the members of schemes that exit the market.I have previously described “triggering events”, which are those likely to risk the scheme being closed and wound up. When this occurs, the scheme is required to convert its continuity strategy into an implementation strategy, including setting a clear timetable for either resolving the issue or closing the scheme. The regulator will work with the scheme to ensure that appropriate action is taken at each stage, including notifying employers and members about what has happened and what their options are if the scheme is going to wind up. The financial sustainability requirements will mean that there are sufficient funds to see the scheme through the transition period. Restrictions on charges in the Act mean that additional costs cannot be passed on to members.
In conclusion, we are ensuring that master trust scheme members—particularly members of schemes that are opting to wind up—are protected and supported before the new regime is fully rolled out in October. This new approach is widely accepted and supported by the industry, which in turn is being ably supported in its preparation for the changes by the Pensions Regulator. These regulations introduce a robust new regime for master trust pension schemes that will provide added protection for millions of people saving towards their retirement, most of whom are doing so as a result of automatic enrolment. These changes are necessary, and I commend the regulations to the Committee.
My Lords, I welcome these regulations, and I thank the Pensions Regulator for its courtesy in providing a briefing on master trusts to interested Peers. With approximately 10 million members and £16 billion of assets under management in these trusts—which will increase even further, particularly given the rise in automatic enrolment statutory contribution levels—the need for a robust authorisation, supervision and resolution regime to protect individual savers is compelling. The risks of not having such a regime were fully aired during consideration of the Pensions Act 2017.
These regulations cover the five criteria which authorised master trusts must meet, and I will refer to two in particular. The first criterion is that the scheme is financially sustainable. This requirement expects master trusts to hold sufficient financial resources in sufficiently liquid assets to cover certain costs and is at the heart of protecting individual savers from financial detriment in the event of a triggering event such as scheme failure or wind-up. However, nearly £6 billion of assets is currently held in master trusts which do not even have a voluntary master trust assurance. I also note that the impact assessment assumes one triggering event each year after “steady state” is reached in 2019. This seems high given the regulator’s assumption that only 56 master trusts will be authorised.
The master trust authorisation regime has, understandably, the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of financing requirements and different scheme funders. That also means, however, that the public need a high level of confidence that the financial sustainability requirement will be robust throughout that wide range. In setting the financial sustainability requirement covered in Schedule 2, what assurance—or further assurance—can the Minister give about the level of prudence expected in any estimates and strategy for meeting those relevant costs?
The definition of “prudency” has become somewhat loose in the DB funding regime and the regulator is taking steps to tighten up what is expected, so reassurance on prudency in the master trust financial sustainability regime is welcome. Will the Pension Regulator’s financial sustainability regime be benchmarked, for example against the Prudential Regulation Authority’s regime for capital adequacy? If an authorised master trust subsequently closes to new business but continues to run as a closed scheme, how will that impact on the financial sustainability assessment and will the trust automatically be required to transfer the members to another scheme?
My second area of interest concerns the criterion that the systems and processes used in running the master trust are sufficient to ensure that it is run effectively. The quality of administrative systems and processes in pension schemes continues to pose problems across the range of pension provision. In DC schemes, the risk of administrative failures is borne by the member. Evidence shows that the cost of restitution of DC administration problems can be high. Master trusts can use in-house administration or external administrators, but in either case there needs to be a high level of confidence in the system of regulatory supervision.
In two recent cases involving master trusts and the regulator, one failed to ensure that all employee and employer contributions were collected and invested promptly over a period of nearly two and a half years. In the other, the administrators of a master trust failed to report the fact that they had not collected or invested nearly £1 million of pension contributions on behalf of 2,115 members for just short of two years. That is administrative failure over a sustained period. Will the regulator set prescriptive requirements on master trusts covering the auditing of their administrative systems and processes, whether these are delivered in house or by a third-party administrator? In the event that employer and employee contributions are not collected and the employer becomes insolvent between the failure of collection and the discovery of that failure, who will carry the liability for compensating the saver for the lost contributions?
My Lords, it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Drake. She is an expert in these matters and we are fortunate to have her to assist our deliberations. I also support the regulations. Some of us who were involved in the 2017 legislation felt that we were taking risks in that the Government did not properly address the question of gaps. Speaking for myself, these regulations ostensibly fill those gaps. Obviously there is still a degree of uncertainty because the field is new and developing and we are dealing with a specialist set of organisations.
As has been said, the stakes in this important area of public policy are extremely high when it comes to the pension security of the 10 million members of these trusts and the amounts of money that are being invested. I agree with the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Drake, on the systems and processes that are set out clearly in the regulations. I support the consolidation that has gone into the regulations. I sit at the feet of the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, who is dutifully here; he is the chairman of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee and keeps us at a very high standard. As the Minister said, it is true that we found no difficulty with the regulations. They are very extensive and clear, and an example of the kind of thing that the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, and I would like other departments to emulate. Having said that, I think the DWP has been an offender in the past, but it has improved its ways and the evidence is in front of us in these regulations this afternoon.
I worry about the cleanliness of the data, as a former chair of the DC scheme for the General Medical Council’s staff superannuation. We always struggled, even with a really well-run scheme, to keep the data clean, keep the contribution levels accurate, and make sure that the investments were made and the administration carried out. We are operating in this new system at one level removed, if you like, because the employers are separate from the master trust administrators. The regulator will need to focus on making sure that the systems and processes that are eventually put in place, using technology, are sufficient for their purpose. As has been said, people can get seriously prejudiced against through no fault of their own, and without knowing that they are being prejudiced against until it is too late. That is a very important point.
Can the Minister say a word about the codes of conduct that will flow from the regulations? There has been a consultation—which I think I am confident about; I have heard no complaints about that and have no reason to believe that there are any surprises waiting for us in the code of conduct. Can the Minister reassure us that this work is in hand and that it will be available in time and will add the necessary detail to the schemes when they come into play in October this year?
While I am on my feet, it is not directly relevant to these regulations per se, but I think we are all very interested in pursuing the pensions dashboard. There have been rumours—I put it no higher than that, although my spies are everywhere—that the department is struggling to find the time or capacity to deliver on the promises that were made by former Chancellor Osborne all those years back. It is an important part of being able to allow people to assess what kind of living standards they will have in retirement or whether there is any backsliding or suggestion that the priority is being withdrawn from the development work on the pensions dashboard. Although it is not directly relevant to these regulations, I would like an assurance from the Minister that this work is proceeding at full speed and that we can confidently look forward to the dashboard playing a part, eventually, over the 10-year period of the impact assessment to help people understand their pension provision.
I hope that the codes of practice will make clear the practical steps that have to be taken by master trusts to make sure that their members are timeously and regularly advised with proper communications about what is happening to their investments and schemes. That is important in order to keep the connection flowing between the people administering the schemes and the members themselves. These are very important regulations; I think that they are sufficient for their purpose, but there is still some work to do because we are in new territory. We cannot be casual about 10 million people and £16 billion of assets. We must all maintain vigilance over the development of this scheme and we look forward to it being introduced, hopefully in a constructive way, in October this year.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her very full introduction of these master trust regulations and for the extensive accompanying documentation made available, notwithstanding that it had to compete with tennis at Wimbledon, the World Cup and a decent game of cricket. I join my noble friend Lady Drake and the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, in thanking the Pensions Regulator for a briefing that provided us with an update on what is happening in the market and on what the regulator is doing to build capacity for the authorisation process.
I should say at the outset that we are, of course, supportive of the Pension Schemes Act 2017 and of the thrust of these regulations, which flow from it. We particularly support option 2 in the impact assessment, which explains, as has the Minister, the introduction of a new compulsory authorisation regime building on the framework of the voluntary master trust assurance framework.
As has been acknowledged in this short debate and previously, the growth of master trusts is associated with the success—I think “phenomenal” was the word used—of auto-enrolment, with now some 1.1 million employers automatically enrolling 9.4 million eligible workers. As of March 2017, 59% of those auto-enrolled have been enrolled into a master trust. Hitherto the regulatory regime applicable to master trusts—that applicable to DC occupational schemes—was largely designed to address risks of single employer schemes. As the impact assessment sets out, such a regime of itself is inadequate to cater for new types of business structures associated with master trusts, with changes to the relationships between key players, the introduction of the profit motive and coping with multiple employers, not to mention the scale of some of the providers. There is a need for a regulatory regime that encompasses an authorisation process, fit and proper persons requirements, financial sustainability and scheme funder requirements, a continuity strategy and an obligation to notify the regulator of significant events.
As the Minister said, we know that such a regime will hasten the process of consolidation of schemes. Indeed, this has already begun. The Pensions Regulator told us that, from a starting number of 81 schemes, some 45 are expected to go through to submit formal authorisations, although page 26 of the impact assessment refers to 87 being within the definition. Perhaps the Minister can reconcile those two numbers for us.
Some of these regulations came into force on Royal Assent, and the remainder will come into force on 1 October 2018, with the exception of Regulations 23(2)(b)(i) and (ii), which come into force on 1 April 2019. These appear to relate to the application of fraud compensation facilities. Could the Minister explain why there is this different starting date, and can she tell us under which provisions the current consolidations are proceeding? Do some precede the application of the 2017 Act and, if so, what difference does this make? Could she also say how many different master trusts have been recipients of transfers in when others have exited the market, and how these were identified? She will be aware of the discussion which took place during the passage of the Bill, led by my noble friend Lady Drake and supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann, concerning a funder of last resort to manage cases where there is no trust prepared or able to take a transfer. What in these regulations will give reassurance on this point beyond what is in the Act? What is the contingency plan, where records are a shambles—the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, referred to those circumstances—and there are insufficient resources? When debated in the Commons, the then Minister explained that the Government were working to establish a panel of white knights. Could we have an update on progress on that?
During the passage of the Bill we debated whether it would be appropriate for the member engagement strategy to be included in the application for authorisation. Although resisted at Committee, the Government undertook to ensure that the regulator should take account of communications matters when deciding whether the scheme is run effectively. Perhaps the Minister will outline what is now proposed. She might also say something about what responsibilities might be placed on master trusts concerning communication and engagement with a pensions dashboard. I join the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, in probing exactly what is happening on that. Perhaps we can hear what progress is being made.
On encouraging member engagement, we have argued that trustees should notify members, as well as employers, of triggering events, but this was resisted. Can the Minister say specifically how members were made aware and kept informed of the process of those triggering events which have taken place?
Section 10 of the Act sets out the scheme funder requirements, including the stricture of, with exceptions, only carrying out activities relating directly to the master trust. The matters to be satisfied for any exemption to apply are extensive, and one wonders—the Minister may be able to help us—how many will actually seek to avail themselves of this.
On other matters, we note that the regs adopt the process of combining all regs to form a single set of affirmative regs, notwithstanding that the negative procedure might apply to some. Obviously, we have no problem with this and presume there are no ramifications for the subsequent application of these regs.
Reference is made in the Explanatory Memorandum at paragraph 4.3 to amending the relevant provisions of the Companies Act 2006 rather than using the powers of the 2017 Act in connection with financial sustainability. It would be helpful if the Minister could unpick this a little and provide a more detailed explanation of what is actually happening here.
The master trust regime does not operate if only connected employers are involved, as we have heard. The term “connected employers” is defined in the regs, although the Explanatory Memorandum at paragraph 7.2 includes a reference to “one profession”. Could the Minister tell us what the Government had in mind, as it is assumed that most professions would comprise separate and independent business units?
So far as impacts are concerned, we accept that there is a degree of uncertainty as the full impact of some of these regulations is not prescriptive. Much rests on the judgment of the regulator’s early work on the regime.
It is noted throughout that in costing the involvement of trustees, scheme strategists and scheme funders, the wage level for a professional is taken as £25.08 per hour, plus 27% on costs. Do the Government have any more specific evidence of pay levels for what could be quite disparate roles?
As we have heard, the proposed two levels of fees for authorisation—£41,000 for existing schemes and £23,000 for new schemes—is proposed on the basis that the latter is likely to have less evidence for the regulator to assess. I am not altogether sure that this sends the right messages. Could it not be as valid to argue that assessment of someone with a track record would be less problematic than of someone starting from scratch?
We cannot escape things Brexit, even in these regulations, and the Government’s response to the consultation refers to the obligation to transpose the IORP 2 directive by January 2019. It also states that, where appropriate, the regs will already reflect some of the requirements. Perhaps the Minister can identify which.
The 2017 Act and these regulations provide an important regulatory framework for master trusts and they deserve—and receive—our full support.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their considered contributions to this short debate. A number of issues were raised, which I will attempt to address—I say “attempt”, thinking of the noble Baroness, Lady Drake, who I have huge respect for, given her considerable expertise in this area.
The need for financial sustainability of the scheme must be at the heart of what we are doing to protect savers. We must be sure that the scheme is financially secure. We have always been clear that we expect that some master trusts will decide to exit the market. Also, over time the market will consolidate as many of the schemes are designed to work best when operating at scale. The regulator has been working closely with schemes, whether to support them to prepare for authorisation or to leave the market. We have always known that some schemes would not meet the standards because they would not be financially viable over the longer term. There are also schemes where the administration is not of an acceptable standard or where the people running them would not meet our requirements. It is important that members’ saving schemes are financially robust and of high quality, and we believe that the measures we have introduced are proportionate responses to the risks in the market. We also expect that new schemes will enter the market over time.
I have been asked whether we can be confident that the risk of a master trust failing in a catastrophic manner, if I can put it that way, is low. The system has been designed to protect against failure to the best of our ability. Measures such as the financial sustainability requirements and the need for an implementation strategy aim to make master trust closure as orderly and well-managed as possible. As the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, said, this is new territory, so it is critical that, through this process and going forward, we work closely with all stakeholders and ensure that the Pensions Regulator can work closely with master trust schemes and continually proactively to assess the level of risk in the master trust market so that it is alert to any significant changes in a particular scheme. One of the important points I made at the outset is that maintaining strong oversight to the best of our ability while continuing in a sense to maintain a light touch is an important balancing act for the regulator in this market.
The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, asked about inaccuracy of data and what processes are in place to ensure that the correct contributions are being paid if providers do not know the pensionable salary of an employee. As we know, automatic enrolment has been a great success and we have put in place a robust compliance framework, overseen by the Pensions Regulator, on how to abide by the law. An employer is required to select a qualifying pension scheme, enrol qualifying staff into that scheme and deduct any contributions payable under automatic enrolment. Employers are also required to pay those contributions across to their chosen pension provider by a set deadline. Although the deadlines for contribution payments vary depending on the type of scheme being used, there is an overall legal deadline of the 22nd day of the following month, which aligns with the HMRC deadline for paying tax and national insurance.
Qualifying pension schemes for automatic enrolment are subject to the same regulatory framework as all trust-based pension schemes, also overseen by the Pensions Regulator. There are published codes of practice on its website setting out how the trustees of defined contribution pension schemes and the managers of personal pension schemes should monitor the payment of contributions and report payment failures to the regulator.
The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, also asked how we can ensure that consumer interests are properly safeguarded and their information protected. We are talking about data in this context. Governance and security were considered as part of the pensions dashboard prototype project and subsequent interim phase. The recent Which? report, published in February 2018, also looked at and stressed the importance of regulation in this area to protect consumers. The Government will examine those findings alongside industry and the regulator as part of their feasibility work.
For many people, the state pension will form an important part of their overall retirement income, so people can access the online Check your State Pension service through GOV.UK to get a forecast of their state pension and information about how they might improve it, and to view their national insurance contribution record. We are considering the industry group project’s recommendation that state pension data should be available alongside private pension information from day one.
Schemes are required to provide details of the systems and processes used or intended to be used in running their scheme as part of the application. This applies whether the systems and processes used are devised, applied or maintained by the scheme or service provider. Schedule 4, on systems and processes requirements, sets out the information required, which includes the features that will be part of the system.
The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, referenced the pensions dashboard; I think he referenced a particular press item. We do not comment on press leaks, but I can say that the Government are working with the regulators, wider industry and other sectors on the options for the development of a pensions dashboard. We are in the concluding phase of the feasibility study and will share our findings in due course. I add to that something my honourable friend in another place said today before a Select Committee. To remind noble Lords, he said that,
“the chancellor, in 2016, set out … an enthusiasm for a dashboard”,
“how it is then provided and what … form it takes, is … a matter for ongoing debate”.
There is an acceptance that there is a proper and legitimate debate as to whether this is a single uniform dashboard. Indeed, I remember the level of detail that, for example, the noble Baroness, Lady Drake, referenced in Committee on the single financial guidance Bill, saying that we have to learn to crawl before we can walk and to walk before we can run. We have to get this right. That is as much as I am able to say.
There was also a question about the code of practice from the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood. There is an eight-week consultation on this. The general consensus from industry is that this is an important part of the authorisation and supervisory role, but we very much have a strong eye on the application of the code of practice.
A number of questions were asked by the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie. For example, on the fraud compensation fund, he asked what happens about the levy if a scheme is waiting for authorisation under the Pension Schemes Act 2017, and why 1 April. Any master trust schemes authorised during the financial year 2019-20 can benefit from the lower levy cap of 30p per member for the whole of the year, irrespective of when during the year they are authorised. This is a transitional measure that applies only to the year 2019-20. New master trust schemes established after that financial year will be subject to the existing rules on the fraud compensation fund levy. They will pay for the portion of the year that they were registered.
It is important to reference the need for consistency when approving master trust applications. Of course, the Pension Schemes Act 2017 sets out the criteria that must be met for the scheme to be authorised. The regulator will take a risk-based approach based on the evidence provided. The evidence presented will be assessed objectively, with specialists assessing specific aspects of evidence. For example, IT specialists will be deployed to assess objectively the system schemes will use. For existing master trust schemes, the decision to authorise sits with the determinations panel—an independent committee of the regulator. For new master trust schemes, the decision to authorise will be made by the executive arm of the regulator.
The noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, also referred to TPR intelligence. Currently, we have 81 master trusts but that figure will drop to 61. To date, 20 schemes have been wound up and the Pensions Regulator is working with them; they are considered small, legacy, sub-scale and non-core business. Some 47 of the 61 schemes were assessed by the readiness review process and 33 schemes provided applications for the Pensions Regulator’s consideration. We are expected to be in receipt of 40 to 45 formal applications. These are in line with the Pensions Regulator’s expectations.
Why do we require that level of detail? The level of detail on charges for schemes with complex charging structures that charge different employer individual rates is excessive and of limited value. For schemes with complex or bespoke charging regimes, the charges disclosure requirements may need some work. However, the information is available to the scheme and is needed to enable the regulator to check that charges on members have not been increased shortly before a triggering event. Members should not have to pay extra because their scheme has had a triggering event.
A number of additional points were made by the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, to which I am unable to give full attention this afternoon.
Perhaps the Minister will agree to write to me.
I am grateful to the noble Lord. I will write to him and share what I write with all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate.
I want to touch on the kind words of the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, in reference to my noble friend Lord Trefgarne. All too often, committees that are not on the Floor of the House or in the Moses Room are quietly proceeding on the more technical and difficult issues and we do not pay them due regard in a public manner. I want to do that now. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, for complimenting the department on getting it right in terms of our consideration of and the detail in the regulations. That is important because we are protecting peoples’ lifetime savings. We want to do this to the best of our ability while allowing many more people to take part in the scheme.
I am sure I do not need to persuade your Lordships that with millions of hard-working people now saving towards their pensions, it is only fair and proper that their savings are protected and that the schemes they are saving with are of a high quality and offer good value. The regulations will help to achieve this by bringing into effect a new regulatory regime which will ensure that schemes are well run. For the past couple of years, the Pensions Regulator has been working closely with master trusts to help them prepare for these changes. Following the introduction of the regulations, my officials and staff at the Pensions Regulator will continue to work closely with the industry—that is an important point to make—to support it in its preparations for making an application for authorisation and going forward.
I wish to thank all noble Lords again for their excellent contributions. Some of their questions were very difficult, I have to say.