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Following the successful inaugural meeting of the SME Forum earlier this year, we were really pleased to get together with Forum members again in September for some interesting and, it’s fair to say, at times challenging discussions.

Key areas for discussion included the recently launched consultation on the 2020/21 levy, and improvements we are making to our customer service for levy payers. We didn’t limit our discussion to the levy – there were lively exchanges on the PPF’s progress in implementing the Hampshire judgment, our position on the Pensions Dashboard, and how we’re proposing to levy any commercial consolidator which emerges into the market.

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive, thanked members for their input over the last six months into the development of several areas of levy work. This has included our refreshed policy on paying the levy by instalments, which allows schemes or sponsoring employers who can prove they’re genuinely struggling to meet the levy payment within the 28-day timeframe to apply for a payment plan. “It’s so helpful that we can now test our thinking with members of the SME community on an ongoing basis,” he said.

David Taylor, Executive Director and meeting chair, said after the event that he was particularly pleased with the feedback from the majority of Forum members. They confirmed that the meeting had been useful and relevant, and that they were confident their views had been heard and will be taken seriously by the PPF. “As we said during the meeting, it’s immensely valuable to hear from people on the ground how our proposals could affect them in the real world. We take their input very seriously, and we’ll be considering how and where we can make adjustments that reflect what we’ve heard from the Forum members,” he commented.

Next steps

We’re now working through the feedback and will continue to update Forum members on how we’re incorporating their suggestions into future activity.

The next meeting will take place in February 2020.

How to take part

If you represent a DB scheme with a small or medium sized employer and would like to join the Forum, please email [email protected] to register your interest.