Skip to main content
TrusteesIn this

On this page

Preparing your application

If you operate a master trust you will need to demonstrate that the scheme meets the required standards across the following criteria:

  1. Fit and proper: all the people who have a significant role in running the scheme can demonstrate that they meet a standard of honesty, integrity and knowledge appropriate to their role.
  2. Systems and processes: IT systems enable the scheme to run properly and there are robust processes to administer and govern the scheme.
  3. Continuity strategy: there is a plan in place to protect members if something happens that may threaten the existence of the scheme, including how a master trust will be wound up.
  4. Scheme funder: any scheme funder supporting the scheme is a company (or other legal person) and only carries out master trust business.
  5. Financial sustainability, including business plan: the scheme has the financial resources to cover running costs and also the cost of winding up the scheme if it fails, without impacting on members.

Our code of practice and accompanying guidance provide practical guidelines on demonstrating how your scheme meets these criteria.

You will need to submit your application via the master trust portal.


You must pay the fee of £41,000 before you apply for authorisation of a master trust that operated before 1 October 2018.

You need to make the payment by BACS using the bank account details found on the reverse side of your levy statement. If you do not have these details, email

When you pay, use the reference ‘MTA’ followed by the Pension Scheme Registration (PSR) number for your master trust.

Decision-making procedure

We’ll make a decision on your application within six months of receiving it. For further information, read the master trust decision-making procedure (PDF, 59kb, 7 pages).

Feedback from the readiness reviews

We received 33 draft applications as part of the readiness review process. We reviewed these and provided feedback to the schemes that applied. To help schemes to continue focusing on their final authorisation application, we have put together details of lessons learnt from the readiness reviews.

Multiple schemes and cluster schemes

The requirement to be authorised is at scheme level rather than provider level. Therefore, each scheme needs to be authorised to operate in the market.

Cluster schemes are an exception to the principle of one application per scheme. When you come to apply for formal authorisation, you should treat these schemes as one master trust and make one application for the group. You can read more about cluster schemes in paragraphs 27 to 32 of the code.

New schemes

If you’re planning to set up a new scheme after 1 October 2018, you will need to apply for authorisation of a new master trust.

Related content