Pensions - Articles - TPR names pension schemes that trustees failed basic duties

Pension trustees of a number of high profile employers have failed to comply with their basic duties, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has revealed.

 TPR has published its latest compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin

 As well as including data on automatic enrolment compliance, for the first time the bulletin includes a link to the names of pension schemes whose trustees have been fined for failing to complete scheme returns or annual chair’s statements.

 The schemes of a number of high profile organisations are represented on the list, including national and multinational businesses.

 Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director for Frontline Regulation, said: “It is concerning that the trustees of some schemes, including those of some high profile organisations, are failing to complete some of their most basic legal pension duties.

 “We expect trustees to comply with their basic duties including providing information in the scheme return on time. Accurate and up-to-date data is the lifeblood of a regulator and enables us to operate effectively. Non-compliance with basic requirements can also be an indicator of broader governance issues within a scheme.

 “We want all members to be saving in well-run schemes and will take action to help schemes get the basics right. Size doesn’t matter – if you breach your duties, you will face action."

 TPR’s 21st century trustee programme, including the development of the trustee toolkit is focused on raising the standard of trusteeship.

 The bulletin highlights that the majority of schemes complied with new legislation obliging them to prepare an annual governance statement, signed by the chair of trustees. Between April and June this year, the trustees of 20 schemes received a mandatory fine for not preparing a chair’s statement. A large proportion of those failing to produce a statement involved schemes with fewer than 100 members but some were large employers.

 In the same period the trustees of a number of schemes failed to submit scheme returns even after receiving a warning from TPR, leading to the issuing of fines to 45 trustees.

 TPR has also published an updated quarterly list of employers taken to court for failing to pay fines for automatic enrolment non-compliance. The employers had each been issued with an escalating penalty notice (EPN) by TPR but had failed to pay it.

 The list features both small and multinational companies, with county court judgments secured by TPR for up to £52,500.

 The vast majority of employers continue to be compliant with their workplace pension duties. However TPR's website also features an updated list of a small number of employers that continue to ignore their automatic enrolment responsibilities despite having been issued with – and having paid – escalating penalty notices.

 TPR will consider taking additional enforcement action against employers who remain non-compliant, including prosecution in appropriate cases in accordance with TPR’s published prosecution policy.

 Other data revealed in the compliance and enforcement bulletin includes:

 a total of 276 inspections were carried out in the quarter, up from the 224 inspections carried out in the previous quarter – the most completed in a single quarter

 TPR issued 4,794 fixed penalty notices (FPN) of £400 for automatic enrolment non-compliance to employers in the quarter, up from 4,673 the previous quarter – the largest total issued to date

 a total of 1,384 EPNs were issued in the quarter, up from 1,043 in the first three months of 2017 – this was also the highest quarterly EPN total

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