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Board meeting summary November 2020

A summary of The Pensions Regulator (TPR) Board meeting in November 2020.

Apologies and welcomes

The Chair welcomed all attending the meeting, including Oliver Morley, CEO of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). It was noted Robert Herga would join the meeting after a short delay.

Three members declared conflicts of interest and the relevant parties agreed to recuse themselves from the meeting as appropriate.

The Chair’s update

The Chair provided a summary of discussions and steers provided by Board, and next steps agreed at the Strategy Away day the previous day to underpin the implementation of the Strategy.

CEO report

The CEO updated members that ExCo had considered the implications of the latest nationwide lockdown from 5 November 2020 and guidance on automatic enrolment (AE) has been reissued including that the furlough scheme remains in place and consideration is being given as to whether any further easements in levy were required.

The external launch for discussion of TPR’s 15-year strategy was successful and was reported positively in industry press. Round table discussions have been set up which will be attended by the CEO and the Executive Director of Strategy and Risk.

The Pensions Schemes Bill is going through the Committee stage in November 2020 with no amendments at the time of the meeting. TPR was referenced positively on several occasions during the Committee discussions.

After securing a conviction of Roger Bessent last year for fraud, TPR had been successful in obtaining an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act that he must repay around £233k back to the scheme. It is an important result and the Director of Legal said the quality of the case had helped to secure the positive result.

In response to concerns raised about the Rolls Royce scheme, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), TPR and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) have issued a joint statement advising members that a transfer out is rarely in their best interests.

DWP has made a spending review bid to the Treasury and a response is pending. After an initial response, a meeting between TPR, the Treasury and DWP is expected.

Case updates

Board members were provided with an update on some current cases. Members who had declared conflicts recused themselves for the relevant discussions.

Quarterly performance report including: Forecast / KPIs / MI

Members were briefed on the quarterly expenditure and the full year budget forecast and were updated on the status of key performance indicators, three of which are reporting amber. There is though, a positive direction overall, evidenced in progress against the Key Outcome Indicators.

Risk appetite

Following discussions with the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC), the TPR Risk Committee and ExCo, the Board considered a paper on key risks and the contingencies for managing them.

Pensions bill interim business case

Members were updated about Phase 2 of this Business Case.

The Funding Industry Working Group is being re-established to mitigate concerns expressed in relation to open schemes. The revisions to the Defined Benefit (DB) Funding Code may be delayed due to the record number of consultation responses, the economic impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

The Board approved Iteration 1 of the Business Case and agreed the design and implementation stage expenditure for the Phase 2 Delivery programme for the period up to March 2022

Determinations Panel Chair and members appointments

At the October Board meeting, the Board ratified the appointment panel’s decision to appoint Antony Townsend as the Determinations Panel (DP) Chair for an initial term of four years, starting 7 April 2021 and ending 6 April 2025.

Further to completion of the DP’s recent recruitment exercise, the Board ratified the DP Panel Chair’s recommendation for the appointment of new members: Megan Forbes; Shrinivas Honap; Anne Fletcher; Stephen Mount; and the re-appointment of Pauline Wallace.

The outgoing and incoming DP Panel Chairs will give a joint briefing to the February Board.

Any other business

The CEO of the PPF briefed members on the work of the PPF.