Winding up a defined contribution (DC) occupational pension scheme
Produced in partnership with Leigh Holmes and Louise Edwards of Wrigleys
Winding up a defined contribution (DC) occupational pension scheme

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Leigh Holmes and Louise Edwards of Wrigleys provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Winding up a defined contribution (DC) occupational pension scheme
  • Classification as a DC scheme
  • Overview of the winding-up process and its regulation
  • Triggering the wind up
  • Associated considerations
  • Collecting in the assets
  • Applying the assets
  • Data cleansing
  • Securing the scheme’s liabilities
  • Trustee protections
  • more

This Practice Note covers the key steps in relation to winding-up a defined contribution (DC) occupational pension scheme, also known as a money purchase occupational pension scheme or a trust-based defined contribution scheme. Such a scheme is referred to in this Practice Note as a 'DC scheme'.

The content of this Practice Note applies to different types of DC scheme, including those set up as a master trust and small self administered pension schemes (SSASs), although the latter may be exempt from certain statutory requirements.

However, this Practice Note does not deal with contract-based defined contribution schemes (schemes which are not set up under trust, eg group personal pension schemes). The winding-up of such schemes is dealt with in Practice Note: Winding up of personal pension schemes.

Legislation caters specifically for hybrid schemes (with a mix of defined benefit and defined contribution benefits) and such schemes should be regarded as falling outside the scope of this Practice Note, along with DC schemes that were contracted-out using the reference scheme test (until 6 April 2016) and those with a guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) underpin.

There are a number of reasons why a DC scheme may be wound up. It may no longer meet the needs of the sponsoring employer, eg it may not satisfy automatic enrolment requirements or the employer may no longer have the