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Tackling master trusts a top priority – TPR

Ref: PN16-18
Thursday 14 April 2016

Addressing the quality and viability of master trusts is among The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) top priorities outlined in its new Corporate Plan, published today.

View the Corporate Plan.

The plan identifies TPR’s top 10 priorities for the period up to 2019. It outlines how TPR retains a flexible approach; allowing it to adapt to a changing pension landscape and ensure savers receive the retirement income they expect.

Chief Executive Lesley Titcomb said: “Unprecedented changes to the way people save for retirement and access their pension has placed an even greater emphasis on the need to ensure people have access to the workplace pension to which they are entitled. Our Corporate Plan has been designed to meet this challenge.

“Automatic enrolment has brought workplace pensions into focus for millions more people, and so our regulatory reach now goes beyond trustees to employers who have duties to enrol their staff into a pension scheme. We expect those schemes to be well run and to deliver good outcomes”.

“Against a backdrop of intense public scrutiny of pensions and retirement saving, we are taking bolder steps to address emerging risks, such as cyber crime and the developing defined contribution (DC) market, and we will be more innovative in the support we provide to trustees, sponsoring employers and members.”

To address possible issues with the quality and viability of some master trusts, TPR will continue to guide employers preparing to meet their pension duties to multi employer schemes, such as group personal pensions run by FCA-authorised providers and master trusts that have obtained master trust assurance. TPR will work with ICAEW to develop a revised version of the assurance framework.

It will work with the FCA and government to identify and address unmitigated risks to members of master trusts and will engage directly with any master trusts that are causing concern.

Elsewhere, the Corporate Plan sets out how TPR will maintain its educate, enable and enforce approach to the successful implementation of automatic enrolment among hundreds of thousands of small and micro employers. This will include further simplification of its processes and building its compliance and enforcement capability.

The plan highlights the need to improve savers’ understanding of pensions and, if necessary, TPR will facilitate the creation of a pensions dashboard and/or related products in partnership with the FCA and government departments.

TPR has committed to achieving a 17% reduction to its levy 2015-2016 funding baseline by 2019-2020. On its automatic enrolment activities, it has identified a significant reduction against previous planned spend between 2016-2017 and 2020-2021.

Lesley Titcomb said: “Despite the challenge of meeting reductions in spending, automatic enrolment compliance levels amongst smaller businesses have been at the top end of our expectations so far, and we are confident that we have the resources necessary to perform our role.”

Editor's notes

  1. Watch Lesley Titcomb answer questions about the Corporate Plan.
  2. View the script for this video

  3. The Corporate Plan lists 10 priorities for 2016-2019. These are:
    • Successfully implement automatic enrolment
      We will continue to help small and micro employers meet their automatic enrolment duties by focusing on the quality of our educational materials and enablement tools.
    • Protect consumers from poorly governed master trusts
      We will guide employers to automatically enrol staff into multi employer schemes, such as group personal pensions run by FCA-authorised providers and large master trusts that have obtained master trust assurance.
    • Effectively regulate defined benefit schemes
      Our work with government and European partners will help to ensure the current and future challenges to DB benefit provision are met within a flexible and efficient regulatory framework.
    • Effectively regulate public service pension schemes
      We will drive improvements to historical governance issues in public service pensions schemes by identifying risks and working with these schemes.
    • Maintain confidence in pensions
      We will support safe and secure pensions by mitigating the detrimental impact of scams through securing assets and disrupting scam activity.
    • Improve the quality of scheme governance
      We will educate and enable those running pensions to meet the challenges of 21st century governance by setting out what effective and contemporary trusteeship looks like and developing tools and guidance to support them.
    • Extend our regulatory influence
      Our communication strategy will support trustees and employers and promote compliance through a continued education programme across our regulated community.
    • Increase member engagement with pensions
      We will focus on improving savers’ understanding of pensions and, if necessary, will facilitate the creation of a pensions dashboard and/or related products in partnership with the FCA and government departments.
    • Develop our people
      By continuing to focus on people management and performance, we will maximise the productivity, success and wellbeing of our people.
    • Be an effective and efficient regulator
      Through upgraded core IT systems, website development, a clear data strategy, and the adoption of smart working techniques, we will enhance our existing capabilities and invest in the future provision of pension regulation.
  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

David Morley 01273 662091

Matt Adams 01273 662086