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Pension Schemes Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

Section 33: Prohibition on increasing charges etc during triggering event period

Section 33 places restrictions on trustees increasing or imposing administration charges when a Master Trust scheme is in a triggering event period (section 21). The trustees may not impose charges on, or in respect of, members above the level set out in the implementation strategy (subsection (1)(a)) and trustees may not impose new administration charges on, or in respect of, members (subsection (1)(b)). Further, trustees cannot impose administration charges on, or in respect of, members in consequence of a member leaving, or deciding to leave, the scheme during the triggering event period (subsection (1)(c)).

Subsection (2) provides for a corresponding prohibition on a Master Trust scheme which receives a transfer of rights or benefits of members from a transferring scheme which is pursuing continuity option 1 and was proposed by trustees or participating employers. The trustees of a receiving scheme cannot increase administration charges above the level set out in the document provided to the Pensions Regulator by virtue of regulations under section 24(5)(i) and they cannot impose any new charges on members to meet costs set out under subsection (3). The costs set out under subsection (3) are the costs for which the receiving scheme is liable which were incurred by the transferring scheme or relate directly to the transfer of members’ accrued rights or benefits from the transferring scheme.

Under subsection (4), how levels of administration charges are to be calculated for the purposes of the section may be set out by regulations as well as how the purposes are determined for which charges are increased or imposed under subsection (2) (subsection (4)(b)). Under subsection (4)(c), regulations may make provision as to how to determine whether costs for which a receiving scheme is liable fall within subsection (3).

Subsection (5) overrides any provisions of the Master Trust scheme and any contracts that the scheme has entered into where there is a conflict with the requirements of this section.

Under subsection (6), regulations can apply some or all of the provisions in this section to an “alternative scheme” as specified in regulations under section 24(2)(b).

A civil penalty under Article 10 of the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 applies to a trustee who fails to comply with the prohibition.

Under subsection (9), regulations made under subsection (6) are subject to the confirmatory procedure. Subsection (10) provides that any other regulations made under this section are subject to negative resolution.

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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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