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Board Meeting Summary February 2020

A summary of The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) Board meeting in February 2020.

Apologies and welcomes

The Chairman welcomed all those attending, including Oliver Morley, the Chief Executive of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

One Board member declared a conflict of interest about a case to be included in the verbal case update item, and members agreed the Board member would recuse themselves for that discussion.  No further other conflicts were declared.

Chairman's update

The Chairman updated members on the recruitment of non-executive directors, and noted that external auditors, Independent Audit, are compiling a review to follow up from the 2018 Board Effectiveness Review.

CEO's report

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) introduced the paper. 

In December 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled (Bauer judgment) that pension lifeboat funds including the PPF cannot be required to pay 100% of benefits but must ensure members remain above the poverty threshold.

The Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice (ED RPAA) briefed members that the Pensions Scheme Bill was reintroduced on 2 January 2020 and has cross-party support. TPR welcome the provisions in the bill which support our aim to be a clearer, quicker, tougher regulator.  The Board noted that the introduction of a criminal sanction for wrongdoing affecting pensions has attracted much controversy with bodies such as APL believing the drafting is too wide.

The CEO updated members stating that a strong field of candidates were interviewed for the post of Director of Automatic Enrolment and an appointment will be made soon. 

The Director of Supervision briefed members on a number of major cases.

TPR strategy

Board members were presented with the draft Strategy, which sets out TPR’s ambition for different groups of pension savers over the long-term, and the role TPR should play in achieving this ambition. The strategy, which will be published later in the year after stakeholder discussions, will set high-level objectives that TPR intends to pursue over the coming years and will underpin TPR’s planning and prioritisation processes and allocation of resource. 

Board members discussed the draft strategy, and, on behalf of the Board, the Chair thanked the Executive Director of Risk and Strategy and the strategy team for their continued efforts.

Q3 Corporate Performance and Finance Report

Board members were briefed on TPR’s spend to date and told that project and regulatory outcomes remain positive.  Updates were provided on key performance indicators and key outcome indicators which are broadly on track.

Members noted the Q3 performance and finance report. 

Draft Corporate Plan and Budget 2020-23

The Board was briefed on the work that had taken place to develop the draft Corporate Plan 2020–23. 

Board members discussed the paper and requested some further work to be carried out.  The Board agreed the corporate plan’s structure, draft corporate priorities, draft key outcomes, KOIs and KPIs and that the final draft of the corporate plan will be brought to the March meeting. 

Superfund update

Members were briefed on ongoing discussions around legislation relating to superfunds, and noted the Board will be updated further at the next Board meeting.

Chairs' statements

The Board was updated about the considerations and application of fines for breaches of chairs statement requirements. The Board wanted to understand more on the situation and options available in response to stakeholder concerns about how this was operating in practice and whether it creates burdens or issues that were not intended.

Any other business

Members approved an amendment to the Regulatory Delegations.