We give trustees and employers the legal advice they need. Contact us for guidance on rights and responsibilities, or for help resolving a dispute.
Producing updated governing documentation for pension schemes is a core part of our practice. We do this for trustees and employers, and review drafts prepared by other lawyers e.g. by acting for the employer in reviewing a draft done by the trustees’ lawyers.
We believe the style of our documentation is much more user friendly than the traditional trust deed and rules, and our clients have commented favourably upon it.
We provide documentation for clients and for pension consultants on behalf of their clients. We can supply references from any of them.
Given the Pensions Act 2004 requirement for trustees to be conversant with their trust deed and rules and to have read them, we believe that consolidating the existing documentation provides an ideal opportunity to receive training and be able to demonstrate compliance. Accordingly we usually suggest that we meet the trustees to present the new document to them and obtain their comments.
When undertaking the update we would:
- Obtain all the current governing documentation
- Base the new document on our precedent or the existing rules, as appropriate
- Ensure it is up to date with all current legal and regulatory requirements (including the Pensions Act 2004, Finance Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010)
- Replicate the contribution and benefit structure of the scheme
- Maintain the existing balance of power between the employer and trustees unless specific changes are agreed
- Incorporate the terms of all amendments made since the current trust deed and rules were adopted
- Include an explanatory guide within the first draft summarising what the various rules do, and raising and highlighting any queries we have
- Subject the initial draft to peer review before issuing it
- Be available to meet you to discuss the draft and provide training on it
- Finalise the draft to incorporate all comments
- Issue a signature copy
- Project manage the process to ensure the project is completed on time
Cost control is a concern in a project of this magnitude, and often such projects are delayed or put on ice such that schemes are governed by increasingly out of date documentation, adding to the risk of error or breach of current legislation and regulatory requirements. We have developed an alternative “lighter touch” approach which is particularly relevant to schemes closed to further benefit accrual (see Closure to Accrual). In it we do not seek to restate the scheme benefits, just to summarise these as a guide for convenience. All the administrative powers are brought up to date, current legal and regulatory requirements are reflected, but benefit entitlements remain governed by the rules in force when members left pensionable service. This allows rules to be modernised, but reduces the scope and cost of the project.
Why choose Pitmans' Trustees, Powers & Dispute lawyers?
- Produce updated deed and rules as described above
- Review drafts prepared by others