Posted on

Regulator’s notifiable events regime could be delayed

Regulator's notifiable events regime could be delayed

The Department for Work and Pensions launched its consultation in September last year, and experts warned at the time that the new notifiable events regime, which sets out the types of event trustees and employers are obliged to inform the regulator about, could be more impactful than its controversial criminal powers.

The DWP proposed adding two new employer-related notifiable events: the first was the sale, by an employer, of a ‘material proportion’ of its business or assets, defined as accounting for 25 per cent or more of its annual revenue or the gross value of its assets.

The second was “the intended granting or extending of a relevant security by the employer over its assets”, an arrangement where, should the employer become insolvent, a secured creditor would be ranked above the pension scheme in a priority list for debt recovery.

The draft regulations explain that ‘relevant security’ is a level of security of more than 25 per cent of the employers’ consolidated revenues or its gross assets.

The extent of the changes, and the significant penalties for non-compliance, led the Association of Consulting Actuaries to call in October for “comprehensive guidance” to be published before the new regime is introduced.

Non-compliance could result in a fine of up to £1mn and, where false or misleading information has been provided, prosecution under the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Despite the potentially significant implications of the new events, which were expected to come into force on April 6, the government has yet to publish a response to the consultation, which closed in October. 

In a blog post, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills’ regional head of practice Samantha Brown, partners Michael Aherne and Rachel Pinto, and professional support consultant Tim Smith noted that the changes “have been trailed for some time”.

They said: “The government has still not issued a response to its consultation and the final amending regulations are still awaited. It is unclear what has caused this delay.

“The proposed changes to the pensions notifiable events regime have been trailed for some time. Therefore, we still expect changes along the lines of those set out in the government’s consultation to be introduced. However, we cannot be certain when this will be.”

The DWP has been approached for comment.

Posted on

Events delayed as heavy snow hits Yanqing and Zhangjiakou

Volunteers clear the course as the start of the women's slopestyle qualification has been delayed due to weather on February 13.
A worker spraying disinfectant at the Secret Garden Genting Grand, at the Beijing Olympics.
A worker spraying disinfectant at the Secret Garden Genting Grand, at the Beijing Olympics. (Dan Hodge/CNN)

The corridors of the Secret Garden Genting Grand in Zhangjiakui seem like any other hotel in a ski resort — but of course, the resort hosting the Beijing 2022 mountain sports is not just any other hotel.

Being within the “closed loop” that separates Olympic athletes and participants from the Chinese public means there are a few quirks to contend with. 

You’re joined in the corridors by dozens of hazmat-suited staff, one of whom is spraying a “disinfectant solution” that smells a lot like bleach from a hose attached to his Ghostbuster-style backpack. They pass through with their sprays at least three times a day, covering mainly the carpet in their mist.  

Relentless disinfectant seems to be a theme across the Games, with white spray marks adorning everything from the airport information booths on arrival, the PVC screen separating us from our closed loop drivers, to stains on black shoes from a freshly sprayed carpet. 

iFLYTEK Jarvisen, an AI smart translator developed in China used by staff and restaurant servers at the Beijing Olympics.
iFLYTEK Jarvisen, an AI smart translator developed in China used by staff and restaurant servers at the Beijing Olympics. (Dan Hodge/CNN)

Breaking the language barrier for lunch: In the mountain resort of Zhangjiakou, the hotels have restaurants ranging from Chinese food and Western-style diners to chain brands like KFC and Pizza Hut.

But one thing they all have in common is the language barrier between the primarily English-speaking clientele and our Mandarin-speaking hosts. In an (almost) Google-less China, there might be an app for that, but some of these restaurants are opting to use other hardware.

The tech that at first glance resembles a cellphone from the early 2000s is in fact the iFLYTEK Jarvisen – an AI smart translator developed in China. Our experience with the tech has been a pleasant one, certainly making mealtimes less stressful.