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A year of unprecedented change: annual report and accounts 2014 - 2015 published

Ref: PN15-29
Thursday 2 July 2015

The Pensions Regulator has published its annual report and accounts for 2014 - 2015.

The report sets out the regulator’s performance against its corporate objectives during a time of unprecedented change in the pensions sector.

Key points include the regulator’s ongoing work to ensure thousands of businesses have successfully met automatic enrolment duties and the production of new codes and regulatory guidance on defined benefit (DB) funding and public service pensions to help scheme trustees comply with their duties. We have also worked closely with our Government partners on the new governance standards for defined contribution (DC) schemes and regarding the implementation of the new decumulation freedoms at retirement.

The report details the complex work of the regulator’s case teams which secured more than £200 million in settlements through engagement and intervention.

And it shows how the regulator is embracing its opportunities to communicate and engage with the industry, for example through our Trustee toolkit learning programme, which saw a record number of passes during the last year, by attending 338 speaking events, embracing a broader range of media channels, including posting educational videos on YouTube.

Go to Annual Report and Accounts 2014 - 2015.

Mark Boyle, Chairman of The Pensions Regulator, said: “Against a backdrop of unprecedented change in pensions, we have continued to help schemes deliver quality outcomes for retirement savers.

“Automatic enrolment has been rolled out successfully to large and medium-sized businesses, but there is no doubting the challenges of preparing smaller employers.

“We have increased awareness of our new DB funding code, and delivered successes through the use of our anti-avoidance powers and investigations, including the successful Lehman Brothers settlement.

“We continue to work with a broad cross-government task force to raise awareness of scams though our scorpion campaign and take action where necessary.

“We have responded to significant pension reforms on DC governance standards and the new pension freedoms at retirement by developing simple, practical guidance.

“With the continuing roll out of automatic enrolment and new pension flexibilities we need to be agile marshalling our resources and adaptable in prioritising our activities to fulfil our broad range of objectives.

“The arrival of our new chief executive Lesley Titcomb has added to our strong management team in order for us to fulfil these challenges.”

Editor's notes

The annual report and accounts details the regulator’s work in 2014 - 2015, including:

Automatic enrolment

  • In recognition of the increasing numbers of medium-sized businesses due to stage in 2014 our industry liaison incorporated more sectors that would provide support to smaller employers. We provided bespoke educational products and online tutorials, remodelled our website and ran an advertising campaign targeting employers.
  • We responded to 674 whistleblower reports and reviewed 1,362 suspected instances of non-compliance with auto enrolment duties.
  • During the year, 35,003 employers confirmed to us that they have met their duties by completing their declaration of compliance.

Improving outcomes for DC and DB scheme members

  • Three fifths (62%) of the DB schemes surveyed in Q3 said that they ‘fully integrate’ the management of the following risks: scheme funding, scheme investments and the employer covenant. This exceeded last year’s result (42%) and our target of 49%.
  • We found that 78% of schemes used for automatic enrolment had at least 80% of our DC quality features in place.
  • Our work with government partners and other regulators has continued to both raise awareness of scams and provide a means through which to co-ordinate the responses of multiple agencies.

Improving governance and administration

  • A total of 17,385 modules of our Trustee toolkit were passed, the highest number since its launch.
  • In August we published a quick guide to record keeping, supported by a communications campaign.
  • On average 84% across our three target audiences (employers, trustee boards and actuaries) were aware of the key messages in the annual funding statement, versus a target of 80%. And 86% of actuaries reported that they would advise schemes in a way consistent with our views.

Improving organisational efficiency and effectiveness

  • Following the government’s comprehensive spending review we have achieved the required 25% reduction on our levy cost base over the four years to 2014 - 2015.
  • An improved experience for online customers resulted in a 54% increase in the amount of time users spend on our website from a desktop and a 96% uplift by mobile users. We’ve increased online activity and use of social media resulting in a doubling of twitter followers and an almost doubling of subscribers to our news-by-email service.

About The Pensions Regulator

  • The Pensions Regulator 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).
  • The Pensions Regulator’s four corporate objectives are:
    1. To promote good governance and administration of work-based pension schemes.
    2. To promote security and good outcomes for members of work-based pension schemes.
    3. To promote employer compliance with their pension responsibilities.
    4. To improve our organisational efficiency and effectiveness.

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