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Pensions bulletin

Pensions Bulletin 2024/26

Pensions & benefits Policy & regulation Election 2024

This edition: New Government formed as Parliament returns, National Wealth Fund to be created, Pensions Regulator evolves its supervision of DC master trusts, PPI Pensions Primer 2024, Royal Mail CDC scheme to launch in October.

New Government formed as Parliament returns

Following the Labour Party’s landslide victory in the General Election on 4 July 2024, new Prime Minister Keir Starmer has made a number of ministerial appointments. Of particular note for the pensions industry are the appointments of Rachel Reeves as the UK’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liz Kendall as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Darren Jones as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Emma Reynolds has the Pensions Minister role at the Department for Work and Pensions which she is undertaking alongside a role in HM Treasury.   

The Conservatives have announced their Shadow Cabinet. Jeremy Hunt and Mel Stride are to shadow the roles they held in the Sunak administration (Chancellor and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions respectively). The former Pensions Minister, Paul Maynard, lost his seat at the General Election.

The new Parliament began on 9 July 2024, with the State Opening and King’s Speech to follow on 17 July 2024 when we will learn more about the Government’s plans for the first session of the new Parliament. And in a wide-ranging speech delivered on 8 July 2024, Rachel Reeves said that “we will turn our attention to the pensions system, to drive investment in homegrown businesses and deliver greater returns to pension savers”. A Budget is also promised for later in 2024.


We hope that the appointment of Emma Reynolds will herald activity on a number of fronts that ground to a halt with the announcement of the General Election. Most pressing is the need to lay before Parliament the Pensions Regulator’s new funding code which is a key component of the new DB funding regime which is coming into force on 22 September 2024.

National Wealth Fund to be created

The Labour Government is taking the first steps to create a National Wealth Fund (NWF) that is to invest in new industries of the future and so assist the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. The UK Infrastructure Bank and the British Business Bank are to be aligned under the NWF, with the intention of attracting institutional capital alongside state funding, ideally at a ratio of £3 of private capital for every £1 of state funding. £7.3 bn of additional state funding is expected to be allocated through the UK Infrastructure Bank so green investments can start being made immediately.

A taskforce, chaired by the Green Finance Institute, was set up when the Labour Party was in opposition and has now delivered an interim report setting out design principles for the NWF along with five “key foundational recommendations”. For investors, these design principles include the NWF being operationally independent from Government, aligned with investors’ needs and having an attractive risk/return profile. Fund management may be outsourced, at least in part, with suggested options including the Pension Protection Fund and one of the existing public development funding institutions.  Investors are expected to include UK pension funds and one of the challenges for the NWF will be to provide a range of product offerings that can appeal across the pensions landscape.

HM Treasury is to engage with industry, government departments and the UK’s public finance institutions to set into motion detailed plans for the creation of the NWF. As part of this the case for bringing together bodies from across the UK’s public finance institutions will be examined. Further detail will be set out ahead of the Government’s international investment summit later in 2024. New legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows, as the NWF will be a statutory body.


No timescales are given for the NWF to be up and running, but this is clearly an important aspect of the new Government’s agenda. Expect it to be mentioned again in the King’s Speech.

Pensions Regulator evolves its supervision of DC master trusts

The Pensions Regulator has announced that it is evolving its supervision of DC master trusts to focus on investments, data quality and standards, and innovation at retirement. To date its emphasis has been in ensuring that authorised master trusts have high levels of governance and administration, as made clear in its 2018 - published supervision and enforcement policy document.

Going forwards, the Regulator is to:

  • probe and challenge more on how a master trust’s approach to investments delivers for savers;
  • investigate how a master trust is seeking the best possible long-term risk-adjusted returns;
  • look more broadly at master trust investment governance practice and investment decision making; and
  • request deep dives into the systems and processes of master trusts.


Although the review of the master trust market carried out by the DWP and Pensions Regulator last year is not mentioned, this next step in supervision is consistent with the review’s findings (see Pensions Bulletin 2023/47). And the promised focus on innovation at retirement speaks to the DWP’s desire to encourage DC schemes to support decumulation options, on which the Regulator has promised to issue guidance (see also Pensions Bulletin 2023/47).

PPI Pensions Primer 2024

The Pensions Policy Institute has published the latest edition of its Pensions Primer. This annual update provides an outline of the UK pensions system, both State and private, and the influences of current policy.

The document is in three parts – Tier 1, covering state pensions, Tier 2, covering private pensions, and a number of appendices containing statistical and other detail including on past and present policies. 


This attractively packaged document, running to nearly 60 sides, provides a useful introduction to the UK pensions system. Its intended audience is those wanting to learn about, or update their knowledge relating to, current UK pensions policy. As such, many of the latest crop of new MPs and their researchers might find it useful.  However, it inevitably has to steer clear of much of the detail.

Royal Mail CDC scheme to launch in October

The Royal Mail Collective Pension Plan will launch on 7 October 2024.  This first CDC scheme was authorised by the Pensions Regulator in April 2023 (see Pensions Bulletin 2023/16). However, it has had to wait until some technical changes were made to the legislation governing such schemes (see, for example, Pensions Bulletin 2024/10) before it could finalise its launch.

Most employees will join automatically on 7 October 2024, or as soon as they reach one year’s continuous service with Royal Mail if later. At retirement the Plan will provide an income for life and a one-off lump sum. Members will pay 6% of their pensionable pay, while Royal Mail will contribute 13.3%, plus any excess from an additional 0.3% primarily intended to fund ill-health benefit premiums.

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