Now: Pensions achieves independent assurance standard

Now: Pensions is the latest master trust to receive independent assurance under the voluntary master trust assurance framework introduced by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The accredition follows an independent assessment of its control procedures carried out by registered auditor and assurance experts Assure UK. The Pensions Regulator is calling on other master trusts to apply for accreditation under the scheme.

The assurance framework (AAF 02/07) was introduced as a quality standard to enable trustees of master trusts to demonstrate high standards of scheme governance and administration.

TPR executive director for DC and public service pension schemes Andrew Warwick-Thompson says: “I am pleased that another master trust has adopted this important accreditation which allows such schemes to demonstrate high standards of governance and administration to employers preparing for their new automatic enrolment pension duties.

“Master trust assurance will give employers the confidence to choose a DC master trust scheme that can evidence the presence of the key quality features which the regulator believes underpin good member outcomes. It will also help to guard against providers without the necessary resource and competence to operate a high quality scheme.

“I call on other master trust schemes to follow the lead of those which have committed to the voluntary assurance framework.”

Now: Pensions CEO Morten Nilsson says: “Master trusts have a significant and potentially beneficial role to play in the auto enrolment market allowing even very small employers to benefit from high standards of governance.

“But, not all master trusts are the same and the assurance framework is important in helping employers and their advisers clearly differentiate high quality providers.

“Our hope is that this framework is made mandatory rather than voluntary as there is a danger that those for whom an audit of governance standards would be beneficial will simply ignore it.”