In its guidance Supporting defined contribution savers in the current economic climate published on 12 January, tPR sets out its expectations as to how DC scheme trustees should be supporting savers in their investment choices, helping them to make better decisions. This includes ensuring savers have enough information to make informed decisions about their savings, even if that extends beyond what trustees are legally required to supply, and providing additional guidance, support and modelling tools. tPR also requires trustees to guide savers through the trade-offs they may need to make when deciding on their options at retirement, and to explain the risks that face them.
tPR’s desire to ensure that DC savers are given all the information they need to make good choices risks exposing trustees to claims for misinformation as they are required to move beyond the traditional trustee duties to manage assets and exercise scheme powers, into what looks perilously close to giving members advice about their retirement options. In this respect, the new guidance appears to go further than both the requirements of the DC Code of Practice and the fiduciary duties of trustees (as to which, see Outram v Academy Plastics  Pens LR 283). Has the difficult job of being a pension scheme trustee just got a whole lot more difficult? Will this deter even more members from becoming involved, requiring more schemes to have professional trustees, leading to increased costs for schemes and a weakening of the relationship between members and the schemes?