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U.K. regulators begin master trust review

The U.K. Pensions Regulator said Wednesday it received 30 applications from defined contribution multiemployer plans, known as master trusts, that intend to continue to operate in the U.K. market.

During the next six months, TPR will review the applications and grant approvals, said Nicola Parish, executive director of frontline regulation at TPR, in a news release.

TPR also said it has given extensions to 10 plans, following last week's March 31 application deadline. The plans have until May 12 to submit an application or exit the market.

"Passing the official end of the application window is an important step towards a market of authorized master trusts, which millions of pension savers can have confidence in," Ms. Parish said.

To date, TPR has already given such approvals to the £5.7 billion Legal & General WorkSave Mastertrust and the £3 billion Willis Towers Watson LifeSight master trust.

A TPR spokeswoman confirmed that the master trusts that applied for authorization constitute 91% of assets in the £16.3 billion market.

Following introduction of a new rule last year, the number of master trusts has shrunk to 40 from the 81 that operated in the market in 2018, according to TPR figures.

The regulation requires master trust providers to resubmit an application and pay a fee of £41,000 ($53,000) to receive an approval allowing them to continue to manage DC assets. TPR imposed the rule to boost standards of governance and weed out poorly run DC arrangements,

The authorization process was set up to protect £29 billion in savings for 14 million participants.