An as yet unnamed new-to-market master trust has applied for authorisation, bringing the total of pending applications up to 33, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed.
The announcement has fuelled rumours that HSBC is set to enter the master trust sector. In February Corporate Adviser reported that the global bank was recruiting trustees for a master trust board, to launch a proposition into the fast-growing UK DC sector, six years after exiting it.
HSBC last entered the UK DC sector in 2010, when it came to the market with group personal pension, group stakeholder and S32a buy-out offerings under the brand HSBC Workplace Retirement Services. At that time it also launched an investment-only platform called Fund Platform, which used FNZ technology and which targeted trust-based pension schemes offering straight through processing, open architecture and access to HSBC’s target date Protected Retirement Funds.
That foray into DC was short-lived however, exiting the market in July 2013.
TPR says 33 applications are now pending, with six providers authorised. More authorisations are expected to be announced next month, although the bulk of the 33 pending applications are expected in August and September.
Recent new stakeholders in the master trust provider space include Cardano, which is taking over Now: Pensions, subject to it receiving master trust authorisation, and JP Morgan, which has taken a stake in Smart Pension. Some experts have predicted more global asset managers, banks and insurers will seek to become providers in the UK DC pensions space as assets grow to challenge the scale of DB assets.
A spokesperson for HSBC said it would not comment on market speculation.