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Trustee Chair Statement decisions

FOI reference - FOI-3303
Date - 17 September 2018

Request

  1. In relation to the last ten of the 74 Trustee Chair Statement cases which were subsequently dismissed, please give a summary of why the initial action had been taken.
  2. In relation to the last ten of the 74 Trustee Chair Statement cases which were subsequently dismissed, please give a summary of why the decision was reversed.
  3. In relation to the remaining active Trustee Chair Statement cases, please give a summary of the additional breaches of the guidelines in each case.
  4. Please list any Master Trust providers included in the remaining cases arising as a result of a breach of the Trustees Chair Statement.

Response

To be clear, we have interpreted your request for information relating to the "last ten of the 74 Trustee Chair Statement cases" to mean the last ten cases of the 74 cases referred to in our published Compliance and Enforcement bulletin, ordered chronologically by date opened and which had a penalty both issued and revoked.

I can confirm we hold the information you have requested. However, we are unable to supply the information requested for the reason set out below.

Information we are not able to supply

In relation to questions 1 and 2, the following exemptions apply.

Section 21 and section 44(1)(a) – FoIA 2000

Section 21 provides that information is exempt if it is reasonably available to the applicant by other means. You have asked for a summary of the reasons initial action was taken (Q1) and a summary of the reasons the decision was reversed (Q2) both of which is provided at Page 5 of our Compliance and Enforcement Quarterly Bulletin: April – June 2018. This outlines in summary the reasoning for the issue and subsequent revocation of the fines for non-compliant Chair's Statements. It can be accessed here:

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/compliance-and-enforcement-quarterly-bulletin-april-to-june-2018.pdf

To provide any further detail relating to individual cases risks giving out information capable of identifying particular persons, and therefore disclosure of information which relates to their business or other affairs which is prohibited under section 82 of the Pensions Act 2004 (PA 04). Consequently, the exemption under section 44(1)(a) FoIA 2000 is also applicable. 

Section 44(1)(a) – restricted information under s82 PA04

Restricted information is defined at section 82(4) of the Pensions Act 2004 (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 from the requirement to disclose 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 requested information. This exemption is absolute and does not require a public interest assessment be undertaken.

In relation to your questions at 3 and 4, we are unable to provide the information requested as the exemption under section 44(1)(a) is also applicable for the same reasons as set out above. To give any further particulars or details of breaches in particular cases, or the names of providers risks disclosure of information obtained in the course of the exercise of our functions and which relates to the business or other affairs of any person, in this case the trustees and providers of the pension schemes involved.

Please see below for further information on Chair’s statements.

Advice and Guidance

You may find it helpful to review our detailed and technical guidance on completing a chair's statement. These can be accessed here:

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/chair-statement-quick-guide.pdf

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/chair-statement-quick-guide-appendix.pdf

This guidance was produced following the thematic review and is reflective of our experience of assessing chair's statements. It has been updated to assist trustees and to highlight some common mistakes.

The guidance and Code of Practice 13: Governance and administration of occupational trust-based schemes providing money purchase benefits make clear, that there are a number of technical aspects that need to be covered in full, for a chair's statement to be compliant with regulations. As such, we would expect trustees, particularly professional trustees, not to rely solely on our guidance, but also to take their own advice, given that guidance cannot cover every individual circumstance.