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Pension funds not meeting standards, member volumes, data accuracy and enforcement action taken

FOI reference - FOI-5642
Date - 17 March 2021

Request

  • A list of pension funds that have not achieved the required member data standards (common) set out by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
  • A list of all UK pension funds with members volumes broken down by contributing, deferred and active (pensioners).
  • A list of all UK third party pension administration companies.
  • Common data accuracy scores for all funds since1 January 2019.
  • Details of all enforcement action taken regarding common data accuracy scores since 1 January2019.

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 reason set out below.

Information we are able to supply

We have provided aggregate data in relation to the first 4 parts of your request, some of which has come from publications available on our website. We cannot provide a list of funds or other details that would identify entities, as this information is legally restricted. An explanation on why this information is exempt from disclosure is provided below.

1. A list of pension funds that have not achieved the required member data standards (common) set out by TPR

TPR has moved away from setting targets for common and scheme specific data scores. The data standards that we expect is that trustees are regularly reviewing and improving their data. In the table below data is provided on schemes that have a date for having measured the record keeping score, and data for the schemes that have provided TPR with a common data percentage.

Data as of 28 February 2021

Scheme count Score measured Score provided
 7,745  6,186  5,745
 % of registered schemes:   80%  74%

Scheme count includes occupational, private sector pension schemes which

  • have at least two members
  • are not parent schemes
  • are not "goneaways" ie schemes we have no contact details for

'Score measured' shows the number of schemes that have registered a date for having measured the record keeping score.
'Score provided' shows the number of schemes that have provided us with a common data percentage.

2. A list of all UK pension funds with members volumes broken down by contributing, deferred and active (pensioners).

DC trust: scheme return data 2019 – 2020

The table below represents the private pension landscape in the UK, showing at a high level the different forms of employer-sponsored provision available within the private sector, and giving an overview of the size of each type of provision. This data refers to schemes with two or more memberships.

 Defined benefit Hybrid: mixed benefit [1]  Hybrid: dual-section DC (trust)  DC (workplace contract) [2]
Schemes   4,920  180  760  28,810  2,030
 Open schemes  680  20  350  24,100  1,630
 Total memberships  6,684,000  963,000  4,788,000  18,171,000  N/A
 Total active members  631,000  235,000 1,038,000  9,275,000  5,247,000

Sources: All figures from TPR's data based on scheme returns, 31 December 2019 except DC (workplace contract) total active members, from Annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE) 2018 (published April 2019).

Please note: the ASHE 2018 reports 7.2 million active members of DC trust-based schemes and 461,000 active members in schemes where the type was unknown.

[1] Also known as 'true hybrid'.
[2] Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics (Revised version released April 2019): rounded estimate of number of jobs where the employee has taken up a workplace group personal or group stakeholder pension. This excludes individual personal pensions.

Annual landscape report on defined benefit and hybrid schemes 2020

Figure 9 data: Data underlying Figure 9, pertaining to the balance of membership types across public service and private sector DB/hybrid schemes

Type Active Deferred Pensioner
 Public service  6,477,474  4,827,673  5,357,814
 Private sector  1,017,211  5,054,710  4,582,563

3. A list of all UK third party pension administration companies

The table below shows the schemes with third party administrators.

Scheme count Schemes with third pary administrators
 7,745  5,567

Scheme count includes occupational, private sector pension schemes which

  • have at least two members
  • are not parent schemes
  • are not "goneaways" ie schemes we have no contact details for

4. Common data accuracy scores for all funds since 1 January 2019

The table below show common data percentages provided by schemes, grouped into quartiles.

Score bucket Score count
 0 - 25  15
 26 - 50  40
 51 - 75  188
 76 - 100  5,502
 Score not measured  1,559
 Score reported as Nor available   441

Scheme count includes occupational, private sector pension schemes which

  • have at least two members
  • are not parent schemes
  • are not "goneaways" ie schemes we have no contact details for

5. Details of all enforcement action taken regarding common data accuracy scores since 1 January 2019

We do not have straightforward way to identify cases relating to common data accuracy scores, and as noted above TPR has moved away from setting targets for common data scores. However, as part of the Record Keeping Regulatory Initiative, a total of nearly 1,200 schemes were contacted in late 2019 to remind them to carry out data reviews of both common and scheme-specific data every year. Trustees and scheme managers are responsible for ensuring these reviews are completed.

This initiative was put on hold in March 2020 due to the pandemic and we have not progressed to a stage of potentially taking any enforcement action against those schemes who had not completed a data review by the deadline given.

Information we are not able to supply

We are unable to provide a list of pension funds or a list of pension administration companies, as this information has been gathered in the exercise of our function. Therefore, the information is legally restricted and exempt from disclosure

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 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.