The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have published a voluntary assurance framework for master trusts.
The framework, which was developed following a consultation in 2013, aims to demonstrate to employers that their pension schemes are managed to high standards.
ICAEW has also published guidance on applying the assurance framework to workplace defined contribution (DC) master trusts.
It sets out how trustees should report against a series of control objectives related to governance and administration, which are aligned with TPR’s DC quality features.
TPR intends to establish and maintain a publicly-available list of master trusts that have obtained independent assurance, to which employers and advisers can refer when selecting a scheme for auto-enrolment.
Andrew Warwick-Thompson (pictured), executive director for DC, governance and administration at TPR, said: “We expect well-run master trusts to play a central role in helping people retire with an adequate income in the future.
“It is important that schemes operating in this marketplace are scalable, durable, well governed and embrace high standards of practice. Assurance acts as a check against schemes being set up by people who lack the competence or financial resources to take care of people’s pension savings adequately.
“While voluntary, we expect master trusts to obtain this independent assurance and we strongly support those providers that have already informed us of their intention to adopt this important accreditation.”
Henry Irving, head of audit and assurance faculty at the ICAEW, added: “Confidence in the governance and administration of master trusts is very important, whether you are an employer or an employee.
“This assurance framework offers practical guidance to accountants and auditors on the provision of independent assurance, setting out the procedures required to assess the effectiveness of a master trust’s control procedures.”