FOI reference - FOI 2018-05-18(b)
Date - 18/05/2018
Duty to confirm or deny whether we hold the information requested
Section 59 of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) obliges us to compile and maintain a register of occupational and personal pension schemes which are, or have been, registrable schemes.
A registrable scheme is defined in section 2(1) of the Register of Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes Regulations 2005.
I can therefore confirm that we hold some of the information you have requested.
However, I am unable to disclose the information you have requested for the reason set out below.
Information we are not able to supply
Section 44 of the FoIA
As we have been given strong powers to demand documents and other information from trustees, employers and others, those powers are also balanced by restrictions on how we disclose the information provided to us.
The information held on our register is information we receive in the exercise of our statutory functions and is considered ‘restricted information’.
Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the PA04 as ‘information obtained by the Regulator in the exercise of its functions which relates to the business or other affairs of any person’.
Under section 82(5) of the PA04 it is a criminal offence to disclose such information except as permitted under that Act.
Whilst the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) is based on the presumption of releasing information, section 44(1)(a) of the FoIA provides an absolute exemption to the requirement to disclose any information if its disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment. In this case, section 82 of the PA04 prohibits disclosure and we are unable to disclose the register, extracts from the register or confirm whether a specific pension scheme is listed on the register. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.
Duty to provide advice and assistance
You may wish to review our research and analysis webpage which provides detailed analysis of various sections of the pension landscape.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA – the EU pensions regulator) publishes a register of ‘Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision’ (IORPs – the EU term for occupational pension schemes), which contains the following information:
- names and contact details for all UK schemes with 100 or more members, as well as similar details for occupational pension schemes established in the other 27 EU member states
- whether the scheme operates cross-border in another EU member state, and if so in which countries it operates
The EIOPA register is searchable by name of the scheme, so may assist in conducting searches, however please note that although entries are updated regularly, they may become out-of-date between updates. The EIOPA register does not contain any details for UK personal pension schemes or UK occupational pension schemes with fewer than 100 members.