The following Private Client practice note Produced in partnership with John Hayward, Pensions Author, and Wyn Derbyshire of Gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
In the UK the overwhelming majority of pension schemes in the private sector, ie both occupational and personal pension schemes, are established under trust and are therefore subject to trust law. The trustees appointed under the governing trust deed are required to act in accordance with the trust deed and rules and overriding legislation applicable to the relevant pension scheme. Probably the most important tenet of trust law is that the trustees must act in the best interests of the members of the pension scheme, subject to the governing provisions of the scheme in question.
In the public sector pension schemes are established mainly by Parliamentary statute and are subject to their scheme rules and overriding legislation, but some are established under trust and thus subject to trust law and are required to act in accordance with the trust deed and rules and any overriding legislation.
The overriding legislation governing pension schemes concerns their management and administration which includes governance, investment and financial advice, the provision of benefits and taxation. These aspects are overseen by legislation emanating from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), formerly the Financial Services Authority, and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Pension schemes are also generally affected by data protection legislation, but there is an exemption allowing personal data to be processed without a member's
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