Section 133: Admission of new members, payments of contributions etc
427.This section applies to schemes that have entered an assessment period. The effect of an assessment period on schemes is similar to a freezing of a scheme under section 23 (freezing orders) of this Act.
428.Subsection (2) provides that no new members may be admitted to the scheme during an assessment period. Subsection (3) states that no further contributions can be paid into the scheme during an assessment period, except in circumstances and subject to conditions set out in regulations. For instance where contributions were due before the assessment period began or where a debt is owed to the scheme from the employer under section 75 of the Pensions Act 1995 (deficiencies in assets), these can still be paid to the scheme.
429.No benefits may accrue during the assessment period. This does not prevent any increase to a benefit which would otherwise accrue. Money purchase benefits can still continue to accrue. It is also possible for a trustee or manager of a scheme to discharge liabilities in respect of a pension sharing order granted over a member’s shareable rights by conferring rights under the schemes on the former spouse entitled to the pension credit.
430.Subsection (10) provides that any action taken in contravention of this section is void. Subsection (11) provides for section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 (civil penalties) to apply to trustees or managers who fail to take all reasonable steps to comply with this section.
431.Where the Board ceases to be involved with a scheme, section 150(consequences of Board ceasing to be involved with a scheme) makes provision about contributions which, but for section 133, would have been due during the assessment period.