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Board meeting summary October 2019

A summary of The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) Board meeting in October 2019.

Apologies and welcomes

Mark Boyle welcomed all those attending.

Apologies had been received from Non-Executive Directors Sarah Smart and David Martin, both of whom had provided notes on the meeting papers to the Chairman prior to the meeting. Apologies had also been received from Andrew McKinnon (PPF).

Board members’ conflicts were noted and these members recused themselves from the meeting when the respective cases were discussed as agreed by the Board.

Matters arising

The Non-Executive Directors had attended a very useful Supervision and Enforcement briefing session immediately before the Board meeting. The session had been very helpful in bringing new TPR Future processes to life and highlighting the amount of change that has taken place with the use of accurate measurements.

The FCA Chair, Charles Randell has been invited to attend a TPR Board meeting in the near future.

The recruitment process for Non-Executive Directors is on schedule and the Chairman is confident there is a good field of candidates for all three of the areas identified as being required in the Board skills matrix.

CEO’s report

Charles Counsell introduced his report highlighting the TPR Annual Stakeholder Conference taking place on Monday 14 October with 180 attendees expected from senior roles across a broad range of organisations. He also noted the Queen’s speech on the same day in which it is expected that the Pension Schemes Bill will be included.

The Executive Directors provided updates on their directorate’s work, including the Superfunds consultation, workforce planning, TPR / FCA joint working and TPR’s new Recovery Plan Regulatory Initiative.

The Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice updated members on the Future of Trusteeship work. The consultation is now closed, it received 114 responses reflecting the wide interest in this topic, with respondents agreeing that ensuring schemes are well governed is a key goal for the pension landscape. He also noted that as of 1 October schemes are required to set out how they comply with their ESG duties. The Minister for Pensions is a firm supporter of this work. TPR contributes to cross government groups coordinating the delivery of the government’s green finance strategy, internally our initial focus is on supporting larger schemes around their ESG compliance via one-to-one supervision.

The Executive Director of Frontline Regulation updated members that 34 master trusts have been authorised to date. Although as yet no decisions to refuse authorisation have been made, there has been a significant decrease in the master trust market since authorisation was introduced from 90 to a possible 37.

The Executive Director of Frontline Regulation and Director of Supervision presented case updates from Frontline Regulation.

Single Modular Code of Practice

Further to the IORP II Directive, TPR is required to update relevant Codes of Practice. A decision had been made to use the opportunity to incorporate all of TPR’s codes of practice into a Single Modular Code of Practice (SMC). The SMC modules will be accessible online, and information will be easier both for users to access and for TPR to update going forwards.

The Chairman noted the Board’s wholehearted support for this work.

Strategy update

The Executive Director of Strategy and Risk and Head of Strategy presented an update to the Board, ahead of substantive strategy discussions at the November away day.
Board members discussed and noted the update.

Staff Survey response priorities

The CEO outlined his paper to Board members which included the headlines arising from the staff survey, and the proposed method for taking them forward.
Members considered and discussed the three priorities and their respective actions, and the Chairman asked for the Board to be kept updated of progress.

Board Effectiveness Review follow up

The Chairman noted that further to Independent Audit’s (IA’s) Board Effectiveness Review in 2018, it has been proposed to use IA for this year’s review. Board members unanimously approved the Board Effectiveness Follow Up Review to be carried out by Independent Audit.