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Pensions: Publications, reports and surveys

Administering pension schemes, trusts and funds is a specialist area that requires up-to-date knowledge. This is particularly important with the new employer responsibilities in relation to auto-enrolment. On this page you can find briefings, reports and other useful resources for pensions administration.

News updates

HMRC newsletter

HMRC publishes a regular online pension schemes newsletter which provides updates and guidance on pension schemes.

Legal Alert

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

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GDPR and pension funds
This ICAEW May 2018 guide outlines the issues the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) raises for the trustees of pension funds, including their dealings with administrators and auditors. It is part of a series designed to answer the questions that members have been asking about the GDPR.

ICAEW on pensions
Webpage listing the latest pensions related technical releases, helpsheets and representations published by ICAEW.

Pension Advisory Group

A guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce
A July 2019 good practice guide to help experts involved in pensions in divorce cases. It aims to provide in-depth analysis of how pensions on divorce should be approached, particularly in relation to valuing pensions and offsetting them against other capital assets.

Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA)

Guidance publications
PASA, an independent body dedicated to improving standards in pensions administration, has published a number of guidance documents for defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) schemes. 

Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA)

Simpler Annual Statement and Technical Guide
A best practice example of a simpler two-page annual pension statement for a DC scheme, developed by an expert industry group led by Ruston Smith. The statement was launched by Pensions Minister Guy Opperman at the PLSA Annual Conference in October 2018.

Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG)

Combating Pension Scams - a Code of Good Practice
The latest version of the PSIG Code, updated in June 2019, sets out the key steps to help identify possible pension scams, as well as providing practical checklists and example letters. 

The Pensions Regulator (TPR)

Cross-border schemes: guidance in the event of a no-deal Brexit
Guidance issued in October 2019 for UK based cross-border pension schemes and UK employers who are currently contributing to an cross-border scheme based in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Cyber security principles for pension schemes
TPR guidance published in April 2018 to assist trustees and scheme managers with protecting members and assets against cyber risks. 

Managing DC benefits
Practical guidance on how to meet the standards set out in the Regulator's DC code. Includes guidance on how to Prepare your DC scheme for Brexit

Master trust authorisation: forms and guidance
From 1 October 2018, master trust pension schemes will have six months to apply to TPR for authorisation in order to continue operating. TPR has published guidance to help trusts complete the forms and a Code of practice which sets out the criteria TPR will take into account when deciding whether a master trust should be authorised.

Pension scam resources
TPR's resources include a pension scams guide for advisers to share with clients and a scheme transfer checklist for trustees and administrators.

TPR 21st century trusteeship campaign resources
TPR's new campaign for trustees covers the fundamentals of good governance for pension schemes. The campaign focuses on supporting pension scheme trustees through guidance and practical tools covering how to manage a scheme effectively, including a Board evaluation tool, Example risk registerSample board skills matrix and The Trustee toolkit, a free online learning programme.

Market trend surveys

Accounting for pensions survey 
This annual survey from Lane, Clark & Peacock (LCP) looks at the pensions disclosures of FTSE 100 companies and is available following free registration. The latest edition was published in 2020; earlier surveys are still available on the firm's website. 

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings: Pension tables
Annual report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on the key findings from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. The 2019 provisional release reveals that workplace pension scheme membership increased to 77% in 2019, up from 47% in 2012, when auto-enrolment began.

AON 2019 Member options survey
The survey gives a snapshot of how defined benefit (DB) scheme sponsors and trustees are deciding on the options to make available to members and what member support should be in place.

Defined benefit (DB) research and Defined contribution (DC) scheme survey
Pensions Regulator (TPR) 2018 surveys looking at how DB and DC schemes are meeting expectations laid out in TPR's code of practice, as well as exploring the barriers they face. TPR has published a DB research response to the 2018 survey which sets out how it will tackle poor standards of stewardship.

DC 2018 scheme survey
LCP survey investigating whether defined contribution schemes are truly offering savers flexibility and if their investment strategies are offering appropriate levels of risk/return.

Drawdown: Is it working for consumers?
An analysis by Zurich of consumer trends and behaviours in flexi-access drawdown. Based on a UK survey of 742 people, carried out between December 2017 to January 2018.

Drivers of savings behaviour for retirement among the self-employed
HMRC survey exploring the long-term saving behaviours of the self-employed population and the drivers and barriers influencing saving for retirement. Published in December 2018.

FCA: Key findings on our recent work on pension transfer advice
Review by the Financial Conduct Authority into the quality of defined benefit (DB) pension transfer advice given by 18 firms.

Living with defined benefit pension risk
Survey commissioned by ICAEW and Mercer in 2012 to explore the views of CFOs, FDs and other senior finance executives of large UK companies on the management of defined benefit pension risk and its impact on company financial performance.

A useful website which provides one stop access to surveys, research and reports for the pensions sector. The database of pensions survey summaries can be browsed by date, country, subject or publisher.

Pensions Accounting Survey 2019 
An analysis of market trends in pension assumptions from KPMG, published in May 2019. The survey looks at trends in best-estimate assumptions, considers the impact of changes to accounting standards and highlights key aspects for companies to consider.

Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) annual survey
The PLSA annual survey provides a snapshot of workplace pension provision in the UK's largest private and funded public sector schemes.

Pensions Support Index 2019
PwC’s index tracks the level of support provided by FTSE 350 sponsoring companies to their defined benefit pension schemes. See their 2012 publication Employer Support for Defined Benefit Schemes for an introduction to the index.

Reward Management: Focus on employee benefits
Joint CIPD/LCP survey report comparing employee benefits, including workplace pensions. Published in November 2018. 

UK Occupational Pension Schemes Survey
Annual ONS survey providing summary data on membership of occupational pension schemes and contributions paid.

Online articles

The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides access to a range of articles in full text from leading business, finance and management journals. This resource is available to ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

You will need to be logged-in to the website to gain full access to the range of articles available online.

COVID-19 sparks wave of UK contribution holidays

As the impact of the pandemic intensifies, between 10-15% of UK defined benefit fund trustees have received or expect to receive a contribution deferral request.

Rogue UK pension advisers to face jail under proposed laws

British pension managers face prison sentences and increased fines under proposed legislation designed to protect savers.

UK keeps pressure steady on poorly governed plans

The Pensions Regulator is on a mission to improve the governance of master trusts and single-employer pension plans.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Employee benefits

Fully updated guide focusing on each area of the financial statement in detail with illustrative examples. This chapter on accounting for employee benefits gives a comparison of FRS 102 Section 28 and IFRS, and covers short-term employee benefits, post-employment benefits, defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, costs of administering employee benefit plans, other long-term employee benefits, termination benefits, group plans, death-in-service benefits, and disclosures.

Disclosures about termination benefits

Fully updated guide focusing on each area of the financial statement in detail with illustrative examples. This chapter on accounting for employee benefits includes a section on disclosures about termination benefits

Termination benefits

Fully updated guide focusing on each area of the financial statement in detail with illustrative examples. This chapter on accounting for employee benefits includes a section on termination benefits

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Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

Articles, books and model documents from the Library collection

The ICAEW Library & Information Service collection includes many articles and books focusing on pensions law and taxation. For information on borrowing books from the Library please contact us or see our guide to book loans.

Model documents

We can supply a variety of model documents for pension schemes, including example engagement letters and Pensions SORP disclosure checklists, through our document supply service.

Practical pension scheme accounting

S. Harvie (Bloomsbury Professional, 2018, 335 pages)
This book provides practical guidance on the preparation of accounts for occupational trust based pension schemes under the 2015 SORP, with example annual report (minimum requirements) and accounts disclosure checklist. 
Request this book

Financial reports of pensions schemes: Statement of Recommended Practice
A list of freely available online pension scheme model financial statements, annual reports and disclosure checklists for the 2015 pensions SORP is available on our Accounting for pension schemes page, under the Useful links - Guides section. 

Selected books

Pensions law handbook 
J.Bell (Bloomsbury, 2019, 995 pages) 
A practical guide to all aspects of pensions law and practice in the UK. 
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Pension tax guide 2020-21
R.Gaines (Claritax, 2020, 528 pages)
Annual guide to the taxation of pensions, and to the role they play in tax and financial planning, intended for accountants, financial advisers and other tax practitioners.
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Pensions on divorce: a practitioner's handbook
F.Hay (LexisNexis, 2018, 607 pages)
An essential read for anyone advising on pensions on divorce, explaining in a practical style the valuation and division of pension rights in divorce settlements.
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Pensions update: Accountants Digest no.645
R.Pain (Croner-i, 2018, 38 pages)
Digest looking at some of the changes introduced by the 2018 pensions Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) and addressing some of the key accounting issues that affect pension schemes.
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Pensions update: Tolley's Tax Digest
M.Thomas (LexisNexis, 2019, 32 pages)
Contents include: the Autumn Budget 2018; the Finance Act 2004 (standard lifetime allowance) regulations 2019; HMRC pension schemes newsletter 105- pensions tax relief; recap of the DWP White Paper 'Protecting defined benefit pension schemes'; government response to the consultation on protecting defined benefit pension schemes- a stronger pensions regulator; the regulator's annual funding statement 2019; and consolidation of defined benefit pension schemes.
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The taxation of private pension schemes and their beneficiaries (2nd edition)
M.Harrison (Sweet & Maxwell, 2019, 1125 pages)
Split into two parts, this book covers the taxation of both registered and unregistered private pension schemes.
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Further titles

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

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