Welplan Pensions has exiting the master trust market, and will focus instead on its employee benefits business.
Welplan says it is seeking a buyer for its pension pensions. It says this decision was made in response to the Pensions Regulator’s new authorisation regime, which it said was “cost-prohibitive” for many smaller and medium-sized trusts.
As a result Welplan says it was “no longer viable” to continue to support its master trust scheme over the longer term.
Welplan says the scheme will continue to support its 1,900 participating employers and 55,000 individual members until they can be transitioned to a new provider. The company says it will be working closely with its trustee board to actively seek another master trust provider to take over this business.
At the end of February TPR said of the 51 schemes still in the sector, eight had exited the market and 31 had triggered their exit from the market, meaning at least 18 schemes are yet to either trigger their exit or apply for authorisation.
The TPR recently announced that eleven trusts has sought an extension to the authorisation process. Only one trust – Lifesight – has to date achieved authorisation.
Welplan Pensions chief executive Bruce Kirton says: “This has been a very difficult decision. We’ve been around since 1960 and have operated a multi-employer DC scheme since 1988.
“But, over the last six months it has become increasingly clear that the master trust regulatory environment is one that favours much larger scale.
“There is now no meaningful place for a small or even medium-sized specialist business such as Welplan Pensions. This is something we’ve already seen with other smaller providers being acquired by larger ones.”
He adds: “Welplan Pensions is closed to new employers but we’ll carry on giving our pensions clients great customer service until we can find an appropriate master trust to take on those clients in future.”