Interesting to see this article on TPR's response on the proposed DB funding code. We believe this raises a fundamental question about the importance of the application of the proposed code and not just its specific wording.
At this moment, many businesses and schemes are still working in the present, focusing on the immediate actions that need to be taken in unprecedented times. Any comments on the code of course need to be considered in that context.
Also, the Regulator has acted swiftly at this time of need, providing guidance, flexibility and time to employers and schemes.
It is this collaboration and flexibility that is key. Both TPR and the pensions industry agree that the ability to flex and consider schemes on a case by case basis is a cornerstone now and in the future.
Arguably many aspects of the current code do include flexibility already. On one view the default funding regime is there to make the process simpler and cheaper for those who want to use it and the bespoke process maintains the elasticity of the current scheme funding regime.
I know on this, many covenant advisers and actuaries will refer to the underlying assumptions in the proposed code and ask whether these permit the desired leeway. Whilst recognising these arguments, in my view it is vital to continue with the cross industry and regulatory working groups to discuss and develop with TPR the proposed working practices and approach.
That process should then help highlight whether any changes to the draft code are in fact needed or whether we are already where we need to be.
“We recognise the challenges the current environment brings and we intend to reflect prevailing conditions in any parameters we set in our second consultation on the DB code later on next year. “We are looking forward to a robust and constructive debate and our door remains open for anyone who wants to talk to us about the consultation ahead of it closing