Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Publication Date:January 01, 1999
 
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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

1999 Chapter 30

An Act to make provision about pensions and social security; to make provision for reducing under-occupation of dwellings by housing benefit claimants; to authorise certain expenditure by the Secretary of State having responsibility for social security; and for connected purposes.

[11th November 1999]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Stakeholder pension schemes

Part I

Stakeholder pension schemes

S-1 Meaning of stakeholder pension scheme.

1 Meaning of stakeholder pension scheme.

(1) A pension scheme is a stakeholder pension scheme for the purposes of this Part if it is registered as such a scheme under section 2 and each of the following is fulfilled, namely—

(a) the conditions set out in subsections (2) to (9); and

(b) such other conditions as may be prescribed.

(2) The first condition is that the scheme is established under a trust or in such other way as may be prescribed.

(3) The second condition is that the provisions made by the instruments establishing the scheme comply with such requirements as may be prescribed.

(4) The third condition is that, subject to such exceptions as may be prescribed, the benefits provided by the scheme are money purchase benefits within the meaning given by section 181 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 (‘the 1993 Act’).

(5) The fourth condition is that the scheme complies with such requirements as may be prescribed as regards the extent to which, and the circumstances in which—

(a) any payment made to the scheme by or on behalf of a member of the scheme

(b) any income or capital gain arising from the investment of such a payment, or

(c) the value of rights under the scheme

may be used to defray the administrative expenses of the scheme, to pay commission or in any other way which does not result in the provision of benefits for or in respect of members.

(6) The fifth condition is that the scheme complies with such of the requirements of regulations under section 113 of the 1993 Act (disclosure of information about schemes to members etc.) as are applicable to it.

(7) The sixth condition is that, subject to such minimum contribution levels and other restrictions as may be prescribed members of the scheme may make such contributions to the scheme as they think appropriate.

(8) The seventh condition is that, except in so far as is necessary to ensure that the scheme has tax-exemption or tax-approval (within the meaning of the 1993 Act), the scheme accepts transfer payments in respect of members' rights under—

(a) other pension schemes

(b) contracts and schemes approved under Chapter III of Part XIV of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (retirement annuity contracts)

(c) annuities and insurance policies purchased or transferred for the purpose of giving effect to rights under pension schemes; and

(d) annuities purchased or entered into for the purpose of discharging liability in respect of pension credits under section 29(1)(b) or under corresponding Northern Ireland legislation.

(9) The eighth condition is that the scheme has such exemption or approval as is mentioned in subsection (8).

S-2 Registration of stakeholder pension schemes.

2 Registration of stakeholder pension schemes.

(1) The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (‘the Authority’) shall keep a register of stakeholder pension schemes.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the Authority shall register a pension scheme under this section if the trustees of the scheme, or any person or persons prescribed in relation to the scheme—

(a) make an application for the purpose and pay such fee as the Authority may determine; and

(b) declare that each of the following is fulfilled in relation to the scheme, namely—

(i) the conditions set out in subsections (2) to (9) of section 1; and

(ii) such other conditions as may be prescribed under subsection (1) of that section.

(3) Where the Authority are satisfied on reasonable grounds that any of those conditions is not fulfilled in relation to a pension scheme, the Authority may—

(a) refuse to register the scheme; or

(b) where the scheme is registered under this section, remove it from the register.

(4) Section 3 (prohibition orders) and section 10 (civil penalties) of the Pensions Act 1995 (‘the 1995 Act’) apply to any trustee of a pension scheme which is or has been registered under this section, and section 10 of that Act applies to any person prescribed in relation to such a scheme, if—

(a) he fails to take all such steps as are reasonable to secure that each of those conditions is fulfilled in relation to the scheme or (as the case may be) while the scheme was so registered he failed to take all such steps as were reasonable to secure that each of those conditions was so fulfilled; or

(b) where the scheme was registered on his application, any of those conditions was not fulfilled in relation to the scheme at the time of the application.

(5) Any person who, in applying for registration of a pension scheme under this section, knowingly or recklessly provides the Authority with information which is false or misleading in a material particular shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment or a fine or both.

(6) Section 115 of the 1995 Act (offences by bodies corporate or Scottish partnerships) applies in relation to an offence under subsection (5) as it applies in relation to an offence under Part I of that Act.

(7) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a) for the register, or extracts from the register, or for copies of the register or of extracts from the register, to be open to inspection by, and

(b) for copies of the register, or of extracts from it, to be supplied to,

such persons, in such manner, at such times, on payment of such fees, and subject to such other terms and conditions, as may be prescribed.

S-3 Duty of employers to facilitate access to stakeholder pension schemes.

3 Duty of employers to facilitate access to stakeholder pension schemes.

(1) Except in so far as regulations otherwise provide it shall be the duty of an employer of relevant employees to comply with the requirements set out below.

(2) The first requirement is that the employer shall ensure that at all times there is at least one scheme designated by him for the purposes of this subsection which is registered under section 2 and offers membership to all his relevant employees (whether or not any other scheme registered under that section which does not offer membership to all those employees is for the time being designated by him for those purposes).

Before designating a scheme for the purposes of this subsection the employer shall consult with his relevant employees and any organisations representing them.

(3) The second requirement is that the employer shall supply his relevant employees with—

(a) the name and address of the designated scheme or, as the case may be, of each of the designated schemes; and

(b) such other information as may be prescribed.

(4) The third requirement is that the employer shall allow representatives of the designated scheme or schemes reasonable access to his relevant employees for the purpose of supplying them with information about the scheme or schemes.

(5) The fourth requirement is that, subject to such exceptions and qualifications as may be prescribed, the employer shall, if he is requested to do so by a relevant employee of his who is a member of a qualifying scheme—

(a) deduct the employee's contributions to the scheme from his remuneration; and

(b) pay them to the trustees or managers of the scheme or, if regulations so provide, to a prescribed person.

(6) The fifth requirement is that the employer shall, if any scheme designated by him for the purposes of subsection (2) ceases to be registered under section 2, withdraw his designation of the scheme (but this requirement is not to be taken as implying that he cannot withdraw his designation of a scheme in other circumstances).

(7) Section 10 of the 1995 Act (civil penalties) applies to an employer who fails to comply with any of the requirements set out above.

(8) An employer is not, whether before designating a scheme for the purposes of...

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