Rocking the boat – Pension Schemes Bill proposals may risk destabilising future restructurings

The Pension Schemes Bill [HL] 2019-20 (Bill) was re-introduced before Parliament on 7 January 2020. Among its proposed amendments to the Pensions Act 2004 (Act) are new criminal  offences for failing to comply with a contribution notice, avoiding employer debt, conduct risking accrued scheme benefits, an expansion of the moral hazard powers and an extension of the ‘notifiable events’ framework. The Government’s stated intention is to “ensure that those who put pension schemes in jeopardy feel the full force of the law“.  Unfortunately, scope of the amendments is such that if enacted without amendment, they are very likely to deter responsible directors from attempting to restructure financially distressed employers facing significant exposure to defined benefit pension scheme liabilities.

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