Guernsey is home to numerous firms providing international pension services within a regime conforming to international regulatory standards.
Guernsey’s supervisory regime for Pension Schemes and Gratuity Schemes ("Schemes") and their respective providers conforms to international regulatory standards. The sector is home to numerous international and local firms providing international corporate and group services to pension plans, gratuity schemes and international savings plans.
Guernsey’s supervisory regime ensures that the formation, management or administration of Schemes, and the provision of advice in relation to them, is a regulated activity. Regulation is provided for by the Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors, etc. (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2020 ("the Law").
In order for individuals and entities to be granted a fiduciary licence which will enable them to carry on pension scheme business or gratuity scheme business, they must meet the minimum criteria for licensing set out in Schedule 1 of the Law. This obligation continues on an on-going basis.
Details of current licensed pension scheme and gratuity scheme providers (“Providers”) are available on the Commission's website under Regulated Entities. The details of the supervisory regime are set out in The Pension Scheme and Gratuity Scheme Rules and Guidance 2021: Acting with Integrity (the "Rules") which may be found under the Fiduciary section for Legislation and Guidance.
These Rules set out the basis upon which Providers and Schemes are regulated. This may be summarised as follows.
Providers are regulated if they carry out a regulated activity by way of business in or from within Guernsey. This means that "lay" trustees are outside the scope of pension regulation since they are not acting as trustees by way of business.
Schemes are within the scope of regulation if they have a regulated Provider, typically either a regulated Trustee or a regulated administrator (“Scheme Administrator”). This means that schemes with "lay" trustees only will be outside the scope of regulation unless the Scheme Administrator is a regulated Provider.
The regulation of Schemes extends to governance and compliance aspects and includes provisions to ensure that members are treated fairly, as set out in the Rules. These provisions include requirements to ensure that pension contributions (where required) are paid on a timely basis but do not extend to funding requirements for defined benefit Schemes or to powers to require employers of such Schemes to contribute specific amounts. The supervisory regime is exercised through the regulation of the regulated Providers, which are required to follow the provisions of the Rules. All Schemes within the scope of the Rules are required to be registered with the Commission by the regulated Provider, which is also required to make statistical returns and annual returns in relation to each such Scheme. There are no fees charged for registration, but each regulated Provider is charged an annual fee which is related to the size of its regulated business.
The registration of Schemes with the Commission is not an approval regime and is separate to the approval or recognition process for Schemes by the Guernsey Revenue Service, which imposes separate requirements as a condition of approval or recognition. Guernsey’s supervisory regime for Pension Schemes, Gratuity Schemes and their respective Providers conforms to international regulatory standards. The sector is home to numerous international and local firms providing international corporate and group services.
Approach to Supervision
Under PRISM the Investment, Fiduciary and Pension Division carries out full risk assessment visits and engagement visits to licensees with an impact rating of Medium Low, Medium High or High. In addition the Division undertakes prudentially focused thematic work across licensees in all impact categories.
Licensed pension scheme and gratuity scheme providers will be required to submit:
- pension statistical returns with effect from 30 June 2022, for submission by 31 August 2022; and
- annual scheme returns for all Schemes within the scope of The Pension Scheme and Gratuity Scheme Rules and Guidance, 2021. Further details can be found by clicking here.
These returns are required to be completed in addition to the following returns and will appear on the timeline, if applicable, when a licensee accesses the Online Submissions Portal:
- The Annual Return covers the period from 1 July to 30 June and must be submitted by any person who holds a fiduciary licence on 30 June by the deadline date of 31 August.
- The Audited Financial Statements and Statistical Return must be submitted by all persons holding a full fiduciary licence within four months of the licensee’s accounting reference date.
- The Financial Crime Risk Return is used by the Commission to gather important information and statistical data to assist the Commission in identifying and assessing financial crime risks within the Bailiwick of Guernsey’s finance industry. It covers the period from 1 July to 30 June and must be submitted by the deadline date of 31 October.
The Commission has developed the Online Submissions Portal to enable licensed pension scheme and gratuity scheme providers to make notifications. Currently, the following forms are available:
- Form 233 is to be used to notify the Commission of the establishment of a new Scheme in accordance with rule 2.3(1) of the Rules; and
- Form 231 is to be used to notify the Commission that a Scheme no longer needs to be registered with the Commission in accordance with rule 2.3(3) of the Rules; and
- Form 232 is to be used to notify the Commission of the transfer of a Scheme in accordance with rule 2.3(2) of the Rules.
A list of notifications that can be submitted through the Online Submissions Portal can be found here:
Where an individual is appointed as or ceases to be a controller, director, partner or manager of a licensee which holds a full fiduciary licence, he or she is required to notify the Commission using the Online PQ Portal.