Update On High Court Ill Health Benefits Case – 18 October 2021
Settlement approval hearing postponed to November 2021
As part of the normal course of running the Fund, the Trustee has as a matter of good governance begun an exercise to ensure that the benefits which are being paid in practice are in line with both the Fund’s current and historic trust deed and rules, as well as legislation. Bearing in mind the many years over which pension schemes operate, and the changes in law and practice which are introduced during that time span, this type of exercise is usual. It often reveals aspects of management and administration that are not aligned with the legal requirements. These “mis-alignments” are often fairly minor.
The Trustee is still in the early stages of the exercise, but so far it has revealed two areas where a mis-alignment results in potentially very material additional liabilities for the Fund. Much greater urgent investigation is needed before the full impact of these discoveries is understood. In the interim, the Trustee determined that it was right to explain the issue to employers, who could potentially need to pay significant additional contributions as a result.
The Trustee and its advisers are investigating the issues urgently and liaising with the representative beneficiaries’ and employers’ advisers.
This development has impacted the process to agree the ill health settlement. The hearing to consider approval of the ill health settlement was due to take place on 13 October 2021. The Court has agreed to adjourn the hearing to the week of 22 November 2021 , so that the representative beneficiaries’ and employers’ advisers can assess what effect, if any, this new issue may have on the settlement and the approval application.
If any member wishes to watch the hearing remotely, please could they contact Mercer, who will then pass on their details and their request to the Court.