The pension sector has experienced significant change over the past decade, such as the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes. Many defined benefit schemes are now unaffordable with large deficits and the focus for most employers is to limit risk where possible.
Pension trustees have a difficult job ensuring compliance with regulations, protecting the interests of members in a challenging funding environment and assessing the ongoing financial strength of the principal employer to ensure the viability of the scheme to deliver expected benefits.
Pension schemes will normally use a scheme administrator to manage the scheme, though, in addition, they will typically need to purchase external audit services, which may include accounts preparation.
The scheme may also outsource the pensioner payroll, including completion of the HMRC annual return and tax return. Pension schemes may request a review of governance procedures or an employer covenant review to ensure affordability of scheme contributions.
Employers seeking to set up a company pension scheme will need to seek specialist advice to ensure the appropriate structure is achieved.
French Duncan has many pension scheme clients for whom we provide audit and accounts preparation services, ensuring compliance with regulations.
We have a small team with broad experience in defined benefit and defined contribution schemes with varying investment portfolios and member numbers. Our use of specialised pension accounts production software enables us to provide an efficient and cost effective service to clients.
We also operate pensioner payrolls for schemes through our payroll bureau and ensure the returns to the tax authorities are completed on time.
Experienced in carrying out employer covenant reviews to help the trustees monitor the security of future funding of schemes – this due diligence work is carried out by our corporate finance team – we also offer advice on setting up a scheme, or review of investment strategies, through our financial services company, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.