Official recognition for pension master trust

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A workplace pension trust has become the first in Dorset and one of fewer than 30 schemes nationwide to achieve authorisation status under new regulations for workplace schemes.

The Lewis Workplace Pension Trust (TLWPT) has been granted Master Trust authorisation by The Pension Regulator (TPR).

Sponsored by expanding Poole-based financial advisers Lewis Investment and operating from its Poole HQ, the Trust now sits alongside the very biggest national names in the pension industry.

It is a significant development for TLWPT as Master Trusts can no longer accept new employers from October 2019 without TPR authorisation.

The pensions industry grew exponentially following the Government’s introduction in 2012 that workers should be auto-enrolled into workplace schemes.

TPR subsequently acted to control and improve governance of master trusts through heightened regulation putting a greater onus on Trustees and from March this year, all Master Trusts had to apply for authorisation or cease trading within two years.

TLWPT, which already has more than 9,500 members and advises on member assets of £26 million after being established in 2013, is now set to benefit from its new status.

TLWPT Trustee, and Lewis Investment Director, Lee van Hoyland said: “Our entire team has worked tirelessly in achieving authorisation.  This accomplishment demonstrates we have achieved the required high governance standards similar to national providers.

“Lewis’ is already authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we are very familiar with the necessary regulatory requirements and this helped us to have a healthy dialogue with TPR during the lengthy application process.”

“It is all about governance, implementation and stewardship – and with TPR very closely supervising all Master Trusts there can be no doubt that we will be acting in the best interests of our members and safeguarding their assets at all times.”

Lee added that a major factor separating TLWPT from competitors was that it also offered independent advice to its members through face-to-face meetings via the scheme sponsor Lewis Investment.

“It is our underlying belief that saving alone is not enough. We believe that every member should be given the opportunity to make informed decisions about their financial future.”

“TLWPT provides the whole package by offering a low-cost pension structure, bespoke financial advice and great past performance, with differing investment solutions to suit the individual member’s needs and risk appetite.”

TLWPT, which acted ethically in not taking on new business during the application period, is now proactively set to generate growth by attracting new small and medium businesses looking to enhance their pension offering to employees into the scheme.

It is also one of very few trusts able to handle pension scheme contributions for non-UK based businesses which have contracted employees working in the UK. Many other master trusts are unable to accept non-UK bank account pension contributions.

Tim Lewis, MD of Lewis Investment, said: “We completely recognise that pensions are central to an employee’s long-term financial future.  We are very proud to play a part in helping our corporate clients meet their auto enrolment obligations.”

Lewis Investment is a privately-owned, independent regulated financial advisory firm founded by Tim Lewis in 1987. The firm has been providing financial advice to clients – including individuals, families, charities, institutions and international companies – for more than 32 years and assets under advice now total more than half a billion .

The Pensions Regulator is a non-departmental public body which holds the position of the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK and whose statutory objectives are to protect members’ benefits, to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and to promote and improve understanding of the good administration of work-based pension schemes.