Five considerations for master trusts exiting the market

In the midst of a big period of consolidation in the UK pensions market, master trust authorisation alone has reduced the master trust market by nearly 60%. If you’re one of the 36 master trusts preparing to exit the market, there are several things to consider. Here are our top five: 

1.Establish your requirements: Timescales, costs and strategy
Consider who’s involved, how long it’ll take, how much it’ll cost and how you’ll continue to operate in the meantime. Determine what assurances you’ll put in place to update TPR on your progress.


2.Analyse and prepare your data
The condition of your data impacts who’ll want to absorb your scheme. If it’s in bad shape, it could have a negative impact on the receiving scheme by pulling down their TPR data scores. Identify discrepancies and missing data, analyse overall data quality and explore options to improve it. Improving your data quality widens your access to master trusts who are continuing to operate, allowing you to find a scheme aligned to your members’ needs and investment principles.


3.Assess the reliability and governance of potential receiving schemes
Look at a scheme’s governance against TPR’s good governance topics for comparison. It’s worthwhile exploring how your current master trust governance aligns with a potential receiving scheme. Whilst many authorised master trusts are open to taking on those exiting, some can afford to be pickier so think about how you’ll get the best deal for your members.


4.Compare what potential receiving schemes can offer for members and employers
Our clients tell us they pay careful attention to what might be important to members and employers. Costs, potential for ongoing contributions (particularly for auto enrolment and maintaining compliance), digital capability and access, customer service support, options at retirement and for investment (alongside their ESG credentials).


5.Consider when and how you’ll communicate with members and employers
Check schemes rules around your power to transfer on the members’ behalf. Amendments might be needed which must be communicated – without up-to-date member data and contacts, this is a lot harder than you’d think. A tracing exercise to track down members you’ve lost touch with might be needed. This makes communications easier (alongside demonstrating good practice to both members and TPR). Think about whether a consultation process with members might be needed. It’s important to understand what they expect from a new scheme and that they’re aware of the transfer before it takes place. Clear and concise communications is essential to engagement so tailor specific messages to different members, use clear, everyday language and tap into what your members care about.