Canada Life introduces communications programme to highlight 5 April deadline

Canada Life has introduced a communications programme to highlight the need for trustees of registered group life assurance schemes to review their schemes by 5 April 2011 to ensure they operate according to the Finance Act 2004.

The Finance Act 2004, which came into effect on 6 April 2006, known as A-day, requires trustees to update the ways in which their scheme operates within a five-year transitional period.

By 5 April, trustees, supported by their benefits advisers, should have reviewed their scheme to ensure there are no unintended benefit increases for scheme members, unauthorised payments or uninsured liabilities.

From 5 April, the earnings cap will no longer apply which could mean that unless specific action has been taken to apply a restriction to members’ salaries, their benefits would increase, whether the trustees had intended this or not.

Canada Life’s communication programme includes intermediary mailings, adviser briefings, technical bulletins and specimen deeds of amendment.

Howard Rayner, group legislation manager at Canada Life, said: “This is an important deadline for trustees of these schemes and they need to review the way in which their scheme operates, to avoid unintended consequences.

“If they need clarification over the documentation used to establish their scheme, we recommend they seek independent legal advice.

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“Meanwhile, we have tried to make it as easy as possible for trustees, by highlighting the issues and the impending deadline that they face.”

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