Ensign, the maritime pension specialist, submitted its application for master trust authorisation to The Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) on 20 March.
Commenting on the announcement, Rory Murphy, Chair of Ensign said the robust process was exceptionally thorough and understandably so given the size of the market and magnitude of pension liabilities.
“Quite rightly the Regulator has devised a high and stringent benchmark to deliver market clarity and employer confidence in master trusts. Our application is the result of a huge amount of work undertaken by the Ensign team. We now await the Regulator’s assessment, remaining completely confident we meet all requirements to ensure Ensign receives authorisation.
He added: “Ensign is a work-place pension for the maritime industry that is not only fit for purpose but delivers meaningful financial outcomes to our members in retirement. Obtaining authorisation will demonstrate that Ensign is a well run, quality scheme, that is able to compete against the commercial master trusts in the market.”
Ensign, which operates a not-for-profit model, provides a pensions vehicle for over 60 employers and 4,450 members in the maritime industry to save for their retirement.
Andrew Waring, CEO of Ensign said: “Our board of trustees and management team draw on a wealth of experience across the maritime and pensions sector. The scheme has doubled in size over the past 12 months and we’ve introduced in-scheme drawdown to allow members to fully benefit from the 2015 pension freedoms. To further support people in their decision-making, Punter Southall Aspire will provide guidance or access to advice to ensure that individuals access their funds in the most appropriate and efficient way.
“We welcome the scrutiny and reassurance master trust authorisation will bring to the market as the Regulator shakes out anything up to 44 schemes that do not meet TPR’s stringent requirements to help ensure the nation’s workforce is adequately provided for in retirement.”
Under the new regime, Ensign must demonstrate that the people involved in running the scheme are fit and proper, that robust systems and processes are in place and that it has a clear business plan.
Andrew finished: “The pensions environment and defined contribution landscape has changed dramatically in recent years which means a new approach to pension scheme management is needed. This new regulation will not only drive up standards but most importantly deliver better outcomes for our members.”