Pension trustees preparing to comply with the revision of the EU directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) are facing challenges as a result of the UKs Europe in/out referendum, an event was told.
Adrian Kennett, director at Dalriada Trustees, predicted the referendum would take place between early and mid 2016, while the deadline to implement "IORP II" was 31 December 2016.
Speaking at an event in London organised by the firm, Kennett said: "We might see a flurry of activity towards the tail end of 2016 when the result of the referendum is known and the implementation of IORP II is brought about."
He said complying with the reform would involve governance and disclosure including looking at the requirements for benefits statements, accounting and disclosure within accounts.
IORP is an EU-wide directive to harmonise pension schemes across member states. The original IORP was introduced in 2003 but it was revised in 2014.
Kennett said there was a "general direction of travel in the market towards raising the bar of trusteeship", but the revisions meant trustee boards "as a whole" needed to demonstrate experience, qualifications or knowledge in order to run pension schemes.
Kennett said the general requirements expected from trustees were "pretty sensible" and he felt the UK was "ahead of the curve".
The firm also said UK pensions were facing cross-border issues due to further devolution of powers to Scotland. Dalriada trustee Chris Roberts said a move towards full fiscal autonomy would drive Scotland towards potential problems such as a dual system. He explained there could be an issue with benefit design.
"If you got an employer with staff in England and Scotland and they are all getting different tax incentives and different benefits from the state, it leads to difficulty in defining what you provide for staff across the UK to provide a clear and equal system," Roberts said.