BusinessBusiness RecoveryPension bill ‘concessions’ scrutinised

Pension bill 'concessions' scrutinised

Turnaround professionals were studying apparent government concessions on the pension bill this week in a bid to determine whether intense lobbying has removed the sting from the tail of feared 'moral hazard' clauses.

Link: Pension changes to hit turnaround work

The Society of Turnaround Professionals said it would not be able to say whether the concessions represented a success or a failure until lawyers had ‘translated’ documents into plain English.

In recent weeks it has been frenetically lobbying the Department of Work and Pensions and several peers in a bid to see off any risk of turnaround professionals being held personally liable to make good deficits in final salary pension schemes.

John Harris, chief executive of the STP, said it had been a ‘very vocal’ in the fight against the clauses.

Its efforts initially appeared to have made some headway after the government said it had ‘gone some way’ to allay fears with a cluster of amendments, including an apparent softening on personal liability.

Another of the clauses would see the creation of a clearance procedure to enable restructuring to be approved in advance by the new pensions regulator ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’.

Harris said the STP hoped to work with the regulator to make the new clearance procedure work.

Because of the nature of turnaround work, it is feared significant delays to obtain approval could prove fatal to troubled companies.

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