Pensions - Articles - DWP plans for small schemes risk being a tick box exercise


A consultation paper published today by DWP on infrastructure investment by pension schemes includes proposals to encourage small scheme consolidation which could be a ‘feeble tick box exercise’ according to Royal London’s Director of Policy, Steve Webb.

 Under the plans, once every three years the chair of a pension scheme would have certify that the scheme had considered whether it was acting in the best interests of members by continuing to operate at its existing scale, rather than consolidate into a bigger scheme. But the same DWP report admits that 80% of small pension schemes fail to comply with the majority of their existing governance requirements, so it is hard to see that adding another one is likely to improve matters.

 Commenting, Steve Webb said: ‘The Government admits that large numbers of small pension schemes already fail to meet even basic rules and regulations about how they operate. Giving them another duty to review their scale once every three years risks being no more than a feeble tick box exercise. It is hard to see that enforcing this would be a priority for the Pensions Regulator which is busy dealing with multi-billion pound deficits across the world of DB pensions. If the Government is serious both about poor governance in small schemes and about scale in pensions, a much tougher regime to consolidate small schemes will be required’.

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