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Appointment of independent trustee to Rotinar Pension Trust

FOI reference - FOI-4269

Date - 2 December 2019

Request

I understand the Pensions Regulator (TPR) must consider three tenders from trustees before appointing a trustee to a particular scheme, can I have copies of these three tenders?

Can I have all copies of the annual statements required by the Pensions Act 2004 (PA04) and sent by Dalriada trustees to TPR for scrutiny and comparison with the costs set out in the tender?

Your organisation has maintained all along this was pension liberation (or a scam as you refer to it). Please advise under what section of PA04 did you seize my pension?

Under section 21 of PA04, you could have issued a repatriation order when you seized my pension. This would have returned my pension directly to me. What was the thinking behind not using this particular method of returning my money to me?

Section 35 of PA04, states that an application for a trustee may be made by:

  • The trustees of the scheme
  • The employer.
  • Any member of the scheme.

Can you advise who made an application for the appointment of a trustee in the case of Rotinar Ltd Pension Trust (Rotinar)?

Response

I can confirm that we hold information falling within scope of your request. However, we are unable to supply some of the information requested for the reasons set out below.  

Information we are able to supply

  • Your organisation (TPR) has maintained all along this [the appointment of an independent trustee to Rotinar] was pension liberation (or a scam as you refer to it). Please advise under what section of PA04 did you seize my pension?

As our previous correspondence confirmed, you pension was not seized by TPR. Rather, we recommended the urgent appointment of an independent trustee to Rotinar, and several other pension schemes, due to concerns with the actions of their trustees. For more details please use the link below to review our written summary of this matter:

https://tpr.gov.uk/-/media/thepensionsregulator/files/import/pdf/dn2874548.ashx

  • Under section 21 of PA04, you (TPR) could have issued a repatriation order when you seized my pension. This would have returned my pension directly to me. What was the thinking behind not using this particular method of returning my money to me?

Section 21 of PA04 applies where a restraining order has effect under Section 20 of the same act.

In light of our concerns about Rotinar's former trustees, as a risk-based regulator our priority was to ensure Rotinar's security. We did so by appointing an independent trustee to the scheme.

  • Section 35 of PA04 states that an application for a trustee may be made by:
  • The trustees of the scheme
  • The employer.
  • Any member of the scheme.

Can you advise who made an application for the appointment of a trustee in the case of Rotinar?

In addition to the parties you have outlined, TPR has the power to appoint an independent trustee under section 7 of the Pensions Act 1995 PA95) where it deems the required test is met. Our Determinations Panel (DP) are also able to appoint an independent trustee to a scheme under sections 7-9 of the PA95, where they are satisfied that the relevant test has been satisfied.

Our DP appointed an independent trustee to Rotinar for the reasons explained above.

Information we are unable to supply

  • I understand TPR must consider three tenders from trustees before appointing a trustee to a particular scheme? Can I have a copy of these three tenders?

When appointing an independent trustee TPR will ask for three tenders. However, it will not always follow that three tenders are submitted.

We are unable to disclose copies of tenders you have requested as this information was provided to TPR in confidence. Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) states:

"(1) Information is exempt information if—

(a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person (including another public authority), and

(b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under this Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person."

  • Can I have all copies of the annual statements required by PA04, sent by Dalriada trustees to TPR for scrutiny and comparison with the costs set out in the tender?

The information within scheme’s annual statements which are provided to TPR are restricted information. 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. 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.

While we are unable to provide the requested information, you may wish to ask Dalriada, your scheme’s trustee, whether they are willing to provide this to you.