FOI reference - FOI 2015-02-11
Date - 11/02/2015
I would be grateful if you would confirm that the above scheme (Pentos Foreman SSAS) is a bone fide registered pension scheme and that its approval has not been withdrawn?
Duty to confirm or deny whether the regulator holds the information requested
The Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) allows a public authority to neither confirm nor deny whether information is held where this would in itself reveal information that falls within an exemption.
In this case, the regulator neither confirms nor denies that it holds information falling within the description specified in your request.
The information you have requested would, if held, be 'restricted information' within the meaning of section 82 of the Pensions Act 2004. The regulator is prohibited under section 82 of the Pensions Act 2004 ('the 2004 Act') from disclosing restricted information.
Section 82 of the 2004 Act defines restricted information as ''information obtained by the regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person'. Unlawful disclosure constitutes a criminal offence under section 82(5) of the 2004 Act. While there are some limited statutory exceptions that permit disclosure of restricted information in certain circumstances, there are no exceptions that would apply so as to allow the regulator to confirm or deny holding the information you have requested, or if held, to disclose that information.
The information you have requested is information the regulator would receive in the exercise of its statutory functions. Whilst public authorities are under a general duty under section 1(1)(a) of the FoIA to inform requesters in writing whether the requested information is held, under section 44(2) of the FoIA this duty does not arise if the confirmation or denial that would itself reveal information subject to a statutory prohibition on disclosure.
The duty in section 1(1)(a) of the FoIA (the duty on a public authority to inform the requester whether or not it holds information of the description specified in the request) does not apply, by virtue of section 44 of that Act, because confirmation or denial as to whether the requested information is held would itself reveal restricted information. The exemption under section 44(2) FoIA from the duty under section 1(1)(a) to confirm or deny is an absolute exemption, which means that it is not subject to a public interest test.
This response should not be taken as an indication that the information you requested is or is not held by the regulator.
Duty to provide advice and assistance
I am mindful of the duty to provide advice and assistance to requesters, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so. If you are searching for information relating to a scheme you may find it useful to consider the services of the Pension Tracing Service.