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TPR steps up 21st Century Trusteeship campaign to deliver good governance

Ref: PN17-56
Monday 18 September 2017

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has today launched a new campaign to protect workplace pension savers by driving up the standards of governance across pension schemes.

The campaign, called 21st Century Trusteeship – raising the standards of governance, is part of TPR’s commitment to support schemes by being clearer and more directive. It outlines how people involved in running schemes can take action to meet expected standards and what action TPR will take if they don’t improve.

Recent research by TPR has shown that while some trustees are doing a good job, many trustee boards, particularly in small and medium schemes, have failed to act on TPR’s codes and guidance to meet standards of good governance.

As part of the campaign, targeted emails will direct trustees, scheme managers, employers and advisers to a new page on TPR’s website where they will find specific and relevant content that sets out clear standards that TPR expects schemes to meet.

They will also be signposted to supporting resources, including guidance within TPR’s codes of practice and practical tools to help trustees raise the standards of governance in their schemes.

The campaign will focus initially on emphasising the fundamental importance of good governance. As it progresses in the coming months, extra content will be added to the website, covering key governance themes including:

  • clear roles and responsibilities
  • clear purpose and strategy
  • competence and integrity
  • upskilling and training
  • managing advisers and providers
  • managing conflicts of interest
  • managing risk
  • meetings and decision-making
  • value for members

Anthony Raymond, Acting Executive Director for Regulatory Policy at TPR, said: “Good governance is the bedrock of a well-run pension scheme and there is a clear link between good governance and good fund performance. It is not a 'nice to have' but an essential part of effective scheme management – for all schemes.

“Pension schemes should have a skilled and engaged board, led by an effective chair, have robust risk management in place and good relationships with advisers and third parties.

“We have set out our intention to be clearer, quicker and tougher. This campaign is one of the ways we are delivering this commitment and I would like to see all trustees visit the new campaign web page to ensure they are doing all they can to safeguard their members’ benefits.

“We are now communicating our expectations more clearly to trustees. Those who fail to respond to our more directive approach may face further regulatory action.”

Editor's notes

  • Earlier this month, research highlighted poor standards of stewardship and risks, particularly in small and medium-sized schemes. Higher standards of governance and compliance with the principles of TPR’s codes tend to be a feature of larger better managed schemes. View the DC survey and response and the DB survey and response.
  • Bulletins published by TPR highlight cases where enforcement action is taken and powers are used. They are designed to help employers, their advisers, trustees and administrators understand the type of compliance and enforcement interventions TPR takes. View the compliance and enforcement bulletins.
  • In December we published a response to our discussion paper on 21st Century Trusteeship and Governance (PDF, 105kb, 20 pages), designed to stimulate a dialogue about how government, regulatory bodies and the pensions industry can raise standards of trustee competence and improve the governance and administration of pension schemes.
  • 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 TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Kimberly Middleton 01273 349554

Matt Adams 01273 662086

pressoffice@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

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