The stirrings of revolution

by | Jun 6, 2023 | Pension History

In June 2005, the Pensions Regulator’s second Code of Practice came into force. Dealing with Notifiable events, it followed hard on the heels of the first Code, issued three months earlier.

We are so used to the weight of regulation unleashed by the Pensions Act 2004, and the structures, concepts and jargon it introduced – the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund, the company covenant, moral hazard, clearance, anti-avoidance – that it is easy to forget how new it all was.

A novel feature was the introduction of Codes of Practice. They enabled the Regulator to set out practical guidelines and the standard of conduct and practice it expected. Codes have no legal force and there is no penalty for failing to comply with them. But there is an iron fist in the velvet glove – underlying legal requirements must still be met, and courts and tribunal must take relevant Codes into account. As a result, following the Codes to the letter in an attempt to reduce risk often becomes the default position, even though they are not statements of the law.

Looking through the wealth of material held by the Pensions Archive Trust, it is striking how the practical implementation of legislation 19 years ago has changed the landscape in which work based schemes operate. Truly the beginning of a revolution.

Pensions Archive Trust Director, Jane Marshall

This article was first published in the June 2023 edition of Pensions Age magazine.