Punter Southall Aspire’s Master Trust achieves MAF Accreditation

Punter Southall Aspire has achieved master trust assurance framework accreditation (MAF) for the Aspire Savings Trust, demonstrating high standards of governance and administration.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in partnership with the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), developed the master trust assurance framework to help trustees assess whether their scheme has adopted standards of governance and administration that meet TPR’s DC code of practice.

In achieving the accreditation, Punter Southall Aspire demonstrated its scheme has adopted governance and administration processes to address the range of risks in master trusts and that the scheme has obtained an independent review of the description and design of its governance controls against a defined set of control objectives.

From 1 October 2018, all master trust pension schemes will have six months to apply for authorisation from TPR to continue operating. Aspire Savings Trust wants to be one of the first to achieve authorisation.

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Gareth Sawyer, Managing Director, Punter Southall Aspire said, “Achieving our MAF accreditation is a significant milestone towards authorisation.  Each master trust has only one chance to secure authorisation, so it is critical to get the process right. We’re submitting our Readiness Review draft submission for authorisation to The Pensions Regulator this week, which will enable us to make any adjustments in time for 1 October. We want to be ready for the authorisation process as soon as it opens.”

Punter Southall Aspire originally launched the Aspire Savings Trust offering a governance solution for the trustees of defined benefit (DB) schemes who wish to see their additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) governed effectively and has now extended its availability so any DC scheme including those being used for auto enrolment, can benefit from its unique solutions.

The company has purpose-built a next generation investment and pension administration system which is underpinned by cutting-edge technology. The scheme offers genuine straight through processing and links seamlessly to Punter Southall Aspire’s market-leading engagement portal, MyAspire.

Aspire Savings Trust attracts employers seeking a technology-led master trust with a complete range of at retirement solutions and pension freedom options for members, together with experienced governance and member advice and guidance.

Through the company’s newly acquired financial planning business, Punter Southall Focus, members also have access to financial and retirement planning advice, as well as a range of communication tools and technology to drive engagement via MyAspire.

Steve Butler, CEO, Punter Southall Aspire said, “Many providers are struggling to manage and administer their pension master trusts, which in many cases have grown exponentially since auto enrolment. Those with master trusts built on legacy technology are likely to struggle with authorisation.

“We are in discussions with other master trusts and are open to conversations with any others looking to exit the master trust market. Our master trust offers a truly comprehensive range of services and advice for members, supported by a suite of communication tools and technology to drive engagement.”

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