Special feature: current issues on pension scheme mergers

There are times when employers wish to consolidate their pension schemes by merging one into another, often following a corporate acquisition. This can allow the combined scheme to benefit from greater efficiencies, as well as giving the employer advantages, such as only having to negotiate with one trustee board in relation to funding.

Although much more space is needed to discuss all the issues and complexities of scheme mergers, currently the most pressing three issues to be aware of are: the change in law to enable the transfer of contracted-out benefits into a closed pension scheme; the risk of an annual allowance charge arising on members as a result of a merger; and the position with regard to certain tax protections such as fixed protection, enhanced protection, lump-sum protection and protected pension ages.

The second of these issues is perhaps of greatest importance as it is still unresolved and causing significant confusion and problems for scheme merger plans…

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