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DC scheme return checklist

Important information you’ll need in order to complete the DC scheme return for 2017.

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  • Exchange help 

    View the help text for scheme return questions on Exchange. You don’t need to login to access this page.

    Note: some of the help text names may appear more than once due to the way Exchange manages information.

Small DC schemes: changes in the last 3 years

A small DC scheme has between two and 11 members.

With-profit investments

You will be asked if the scheme is invested in with profits, and what features the scheme has if this is the case. We’re also asking what percentage of total DC assets the investment represents, and if any penalties are applied on surrender.

The new question includes an option to select ‘not known’ as your answer. If you select this response we expect you to take steps to obtain this information in time for your next scheme return.

Charge cap: early exit charges

We’re asking if the scheme is compliant with regulations around early exit charges, which were introduced in The Occupational Pension Schemes (Charges and Governance) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

Early exit charges are prohibited for relevant members joining the scheme on or after 1 October 2017, and the early exit charge for other relevant members is capped.


You will be asked to confirm when you last measured the ‘common’ data that you hold, your assessment of how much you have, and how accurate it is. You’ll also have to answer this for your ‘scheme-specific’ data – this is the new name for ‘conditional’ data, which has been changed to improve understanding of its importance.

We are asking for this information to help us track the progress of schemes as they incorporate the standards that we expect of schemes of all sizes. By measuring certain data, we can determine behaviours which contribute to schemes being well run, and encourage better record-keeping.

While the scheme return asks whether you have measured data within the last three years, we expect trustees to review their data at least once a year. You should take steps to put a data review process in place.

Where to find it

For more information about these new questions and why we’re asking for this data now, please see the Annex in the scheme return checklist.

Consent to electronic services

We'd like to deliver documents by email wherever possible, we are therefore asking you to consent to this.

How to update your details and consent preferences

Please note that action is required for each of your schemes, so details must be updated, and the consent option selected for each scheme individually. 

Follow the step-by-step guide below to update the contact details and consent preferences: 

1. Start by logging on to exchange


2. Click on the ‘My Schemes’ tab on the top of the screen


3. Select the relevant scheme from the list in your view


4. Select 'Update Scheme Details'


5. Select 'Contact Details'


6. Select ‘Scheme Return Contact’ to check contact details are correct


7. Click amend if necessary to update details


8. Click 'confirm’ or 'cancel’ depending on whether a change has been made


9. Select 'Consent to electronic service’ and provide consent by ticking the box. If you do not wish to consent, leave the ‘Consent to electronic service’ box unticked


10. Finish by clicking the 'Save’ button


By completing this process we can make sure you receive emails containing important information required for your Scheme Return Notice, and other important documents or notifications relating to scheme(s) you manage.

Large DC schemes: changes in 2017

A large DC scheme has 12 or more members.

Pension Tracing Service contact

You will be asked to provide a Pension Tracing Service contact (if different to the current scheme contact). We are asking for this to ensure we have the right contact for the service to use. The Pension Tracing Service is part of the Department for Work and Pensions and allows members to find contact details on their own workplace or personal pension scheme or someone else’s scheme if they have their permission.

Consent to electronic services

We ‘d like to deliver documents by email wherever possible, we are therefore asking you to consent to this.

Part 2 of the charge and governance regulations 2015

We have made minor amendments to the wording around the ‘charge cap’ question.

  • With effect from 6 April 2016, service providers are prevented from levying a charge on members to recover the cost of any commission payments to advisers for certain advice or services in respect of any new commission arrangements, including variations or renewals of these arrangements. Although this duty rests with providers of services to trustees of certain occupational pensions schemes, the regulations also include a new duty on trustees to confirm to us, via the scheme return, that their service providers have are complying with this new duty.
  • This is now referred to as ‘Part 2 of the charge and governance 2015’.

Type of trustee

There is a requirement for each scheme trustee to indicate if they are a professional trustee and for any corporate trustee to indicate if they or any their directors are professional trustees.   

DC scheme return: example form