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New, consolidated and simplified enforcement policy and updated prosecution policy published by TPR

Ref: PN22-12

Issued: Wednesday 4 May 2022

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published for consultation its new, consolidated and simpler draft enforcement policy and an updated prosecution policy to help those facing or affected by enforcement action understand the regulator’s approach.

The enforcement policy consolidates previous policies for defined benefit, hybrid, public sector pension schemes and defined contribution pension schemes. Both the enforcement and prosecution policies have been updated to include the new powers granted to the regulator in the Pensions Schemes Act 2021 and to reflect its experience from using existing enforcement powers.

The new powers strengthen TPR’s regulatory framework so it can gather evidence more efficiently and respond to events or conduct that could affect schemes. The Act also introduced several sanctions and deterrents against conduct that could put members’ pensions at risk or impede the regulator’s investigations.

While developing policies to explain its approach to the new powers, TPR identified a need to be clearer about all its enforcement powers through more streamlined policy documents. Today, it is seeking comment on a new draft enforcement policy and a revised and updated prosecution policy.

David Fairs, TPR’s Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, said: “We want to be clear with the pensions industry about our approach to enforcement and prosecution. With our new powers to help us ensure savers’ money is secure, we felt it was timely to review our existing policies and consolidate them where possible, so they are easier to navigate.

“These two policies explain what targets or those affected by enforcement action should expect from TPR, from the point of our opening an investigation through to the conclusion of any enforcement action.

“We’ve simplified, consolidated and clarified the way in which our regulated community accesses important information about enforcement.”

TPR’s existing enforcement policies for automatic enrolment, master trust authorisation and upcoming CDC schemes are not included in today’s new draft policies. The consultation closes on 24 June 2022.

Following consultation last autumn, TPR has also published its new high fines policies for its avoidance-type powers and information requirements powers.

Notes for editors

  • Response document also published: a response document to last autumn’s consultation on new policies regarding overlapping powers (where TPR has the choice to use regulatory/financial penalty and/or pursue criminal prosecution), monetary penalty powers (high fines) and TPR’s approach to information gathering has been published. The results of this exercise mean that TPR’s approach to overlapping powers and information gathering is now incorporated as chapters in the draft enforcement policy and the finalised high fines policies are published separately. These policy areas are not reopen for response.
    Overall, the 14 respondents were happy with the draft policies in terms of the guidance they provide, the clarity on TPR's approach to the new financial penalty and information gathering powers, and situations where the regulator has a choice of powers.
  • The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

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Matt Adams

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01273 662086

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