Pensions Priorities: law reform — change to the statutory definition of ‘money purchase benefits’

The regulation surrounding defined-benefit pension schemes is immense and has increased significantly over the last two decades, particularly in relation to funding and obligations such as the Pension Protection Fund levy. Historically, there have been certain schemes that, while providing some level of promised return to members, have fallen outside this regime. Legally, this regime applies to all schemes where the benefits do not fall within the definition of ‘money purchase benefits’ under the Pension Schemes Act 1993. A number of cases have been brought before the courts to determine whether certain schemes and/or types of benefit fell within this definition. Following the Supreme Court case of Houldsworth v Bridge Trustees and another in 2011 ([2011] UKSC42), it became clear that a scheme was capable of having a deficit in funding but still fall within the ‘money purchase benefits’ definition, and so not be subject to, in particular, the funding legislation…

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