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TPR launches plan for clearer, quicker and tougher approach to regulating pensions

Ref: PN18-24
Thursday 10 May 2018

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published its corporate plan setting out how it is taking a clearer, quicker and tougher approach to driving up standards in the pensions sector.

The corporate plan for 2018 – 2021 outlines how TPR will focus on key areas of activity, including:

  • driving up standards of trusteeship and stewardship across all pension schemes
  • authorising master trust schemes
  • ensuring employers meet their automatic enrolment duties
  • ensuring defined benefit (DB) schemes are effectively regulated
  • working with government to implement the proposals set out in the White Paper on the future of DB schemes

TPR Chairman Mark Boyle said: "The pensions landscape has been changing significantly. We are meeting this challenge by embedding a new regulatory culture and reinforcing our regulatory teams on the frontline.

"In the coming year, you can expect to see us being more vocal about our expectations of those we regulate and intervening quickly and decisively through our wide-ranging regulatory activity and enforcement powers so that workplace pension schemes are run properly and people can save safely for retirement."

The plan also delivers a significant increase in resources to protect pension savers. TPR plans to spend £4.3 million more in 2018/19 than in 2017/18 (an increase of 5.2%). This will help TPR to crack down on sponsoring employers who are not taking their duties towards their pension schemes seriously, as well as launch a new anti-scams campaign to help prevent savers from being ripped-off. At the same time, TPR will be working with trustees to improve scheme governance and with the majority of companies who are working hard to do the right thing.

Over a third of headcount (34%) this year will be allocated to TPR’s Frontline Regulation team which together with automatic enrolment (16%) and policy and advisory work (20%), means a significant majority of resources will be directly focused on delivering better regulatory outcomes. During the year, TPR plans to increase its headcount by 12% as a result of its increased workload and remit.

TPR Chief Executive Lesley Titcomb said: "Our corporate plan sets out how we are becoming a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator. It highlights our wide regulatory remit including ensuring employers meet their workplace pension duties, authorising master trusts, securing funding for defined benefit schemes and a continued commitment to fighting scams.

"By delivering on our eight corporate priorities we will ensure TPR meets the regulatory challenges of the future and will address the biggest risks facing the pensions industry."

Editor's notes

  1. TPR’s eight priorities for the next three years are:
    • enhancing and executing effective regulatory approaches across all schemes
    • promoting good trusteeship through improving governance and administration
    • effective regulation of DB schemes
    • effective regulation of master trusts
    • ensuring employers meet their ongoing automatic enrolment (AE) duties
    • preparing for the impact of Brexit
    • equipping its staff to meet the challenges TPR faces
    • developing an approach to regulation that focuses on more proactive and targeted work and uses a wider range of regulatory interventions
  2. TPR has identified a number of challenges facing the pension landscape and these have influenced its eight corporate priorities and plans for the next three years. These are:
    • changes in some industries and the UK transitioning to a post-Brexit environment mean some schemes will need to reflect on potential impacts on their employer covenant
    • the wider implications of an aging population, pension freedoms and DB schemes not appropriately managing their cash flow needs
    • opportunities and threats from the increased use of technology
    • ensuring AE continues to be a success with members encouraged to continue saving, especially as contribution rates rise
  3. TPR and the FCA are consulting stakeholders and other interested parties to understand their views on the biggest current and potential risks, and how we should tackle them. The consultation runs until 19 June and is part of a new joint TPR and FCA strategy.
  4. 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 (PPF); 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 the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Matt Adams 01273 662086

David Morley 01273 662091

pressoffice@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

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