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Pension Schemes Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

Section 3: Prohibition on operating a scheme unless authorised

Section 3 sets out the prohibition ‐ that a person cannot operate a Master Trust scheme unless that scheme is authorised. To become authorised the Pensions Regulator must be satisfied that the scheme meets certain criteria which are set out in section 5(3). A scheme is considered to be operating in the market when it takes pension contributions from employers and employees, receives fees or enters into contracts with employers (subsection (5)). An example of this is where a scheme agrees to provide a scheme for automatic enrolment purposes to an employer.

Section 3(2) provides that if a person does operate a Master Trust scheme that is not authorised, they may be subject to a civil penalty under Article 10 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

Subsections (3) and (4) of section 3 provide that where the Pensions Regulator becomes aware that a Master Trust scheme is operating without authorisation, it is required to issue a notice to the trustees of the scheme. This notice must set out that the scheme is not authorised and as a result there has been a triggering event (see section 21) and the scheme is required to pursue the first continuity option (see section 24).

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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