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Keeping pensions safe for the millions newly saving

Ref: PN19-09

Issued: Thursday 14 February 2019

A report published today demonstrates how The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is working to make sure members’ savings stay safe.

TPR’s latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin  follows news that 10 million people are newly saving or saving more thanks to automatic enrolment.

The bulletin demonstrates the wide ranging action TPR is taking to protect savers and ensure staff receive the pensions they are entitled to.

The report highlights:

  • TPR continues to use new approaches and powers to disrupt, deter and punish dishonest activity. This includes serving a summons in our first prosecution for fraud and employer related investments against a trustee who was also a qualified accountant. In another case, TPR executed warrants linked to six people suspected of fraud which led to arrests and questioning.
  • TPR intervention is leading to fairer treatment for pension schemes. In the last quarter of 2018, interventions helped a number of employers and trustees agree on shorter recovery plans, which put paying deficit repair contributions before dividend payments.
  • While accountants and advisers have helped millions of employers to meet their pension duties, as two recent prosecutions show, TPR will be tough on those who enable them to avoid their legal duties, for example by making false declarations of compliance.

Director of Automatic Enrolment Darren Ryder said:

“More than 1.4 million employers have done the right thing for their staff and we’re delighted so many now have the opportunity to save for later in life. But we are not complacent and will continue to ensure employers and their advisers meet their responsibilities.

“We will not tolerate behaviour by employers or their advisers that sees pension savers short changed by not being put into a scheme.”

Executive Director of Frontline Regulation Nicola Parish added:

“This report highlights the many wide ranging powers and ways of working that we are using to protect savers – from helping trustees deal more robustly with employers, to taking swift court action when we suspect members’ savings are at imminent risk. Our clearer, quicker and tougher approach is having a real impact.”

Also included in the report:

Automatic enrolment:

  • In line with the numbers of employers reaching their duty start dates, the number of compliance notices issued in the quarter has fallen to 6,795 compared to 14,997 issued in the previous quarter.
  • Also in line with the numbers of employers reaching their duty start dates, 5,758 fixed penalty notices were issued in the quarter compared to 12,551 in the previous quarter.
  • 88 inspections were carried out compared to 111 in the previous quarter.

Pension schemes:

  • The special procedure, which allows TPR to act quickly in using its powers where there is immediate risk to members, was used three times in the quarter.
  • There were 149 trustee appointments made to protect members’ benefits.
  • TPR used its powers to take action against trustees 30 times between October and December for failing to prepare a compliant chair’s statement.

Notes to editors

TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund; to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Ciara Bridge-Butler
Media Officer (AE)
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 662018

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