November 2012: Pensions update

An overview of issues facing the pensions sector, with attention to recent government reforms.

The Fair Deal policy, first introduced in 1999, sets out in general terms how pension issues are to be handled when staff from central government departments and agencies or other public sector bodies are transferred to a new employer, i.e. from the public sector to the private sector. The Fair Deal requires public sector bodies to request bidders for outsourcing contracts to offer transferring employees membership of a broadly comparable pension scheme for future service and sets out the basis on which bulk transfers of past service benefits should be made (to enable employees to maintain final salary linkage in their new schemes). 

In July 2012 the Government confirmed that it would be retaining Fair Deal, but allowing access to all public sector schemes for transferring staff (effectively abolishing the need for broadly comparable schemes). A draft of the new Fair Deal has been published for consultation. Transfers from local government will continue to be outside Fair Deal (these will continue to be governed by “Best Value” arrangements) as will pre-1999 transfers not covered by the original Fair Deal. No start date for the new policy has been announced and the current Fair Deal will remain in force until the new one is put in place…

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