Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) and its chairman Humphrey Smith have admitted failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
Information about the company’s financial situation was required as part of TPR’s investigation into its pension schemes.
TPR opened an investigation following submission of the 2015 valuation of some of the company’s final salary pension schemes and asked for financial information from the company to seek assurances the schemes could be financially supported.
The company did not provide the information by the deadline set in TPR’s statutory request issued under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004. The information has now been provided to TPR.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday 15 May) Humphrey Smith and Samuel Smith Old Brewery pleaded guilty to neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse, contrary to section 77(1) of the Pensions Act 2004. Humphrey Smith was charged on the basis that he consented to or connived in the offence by the company, or caused it by his neglect.
The case is the sixth criminal conviction secured by TPR against individuals or organisations for failing to comply with section 72 notices.
Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said: “We are satisfied with the outcome of this case, the latest in a series of successful prosecutions by TPR for offences of this kind.
“This sends a clear message to employers that we are serious when we ask for information. We require it for good reason as part of our work to protect pension savers. Anyone who does not cooperate with our requests also risks getting a criminal record.”
The case was adjourned for sentencing until 6 June.
- TPR has the power under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 to issue a notice requiring the recipient to provide us with information and documents relevant to our statutory functions.
- Failure to provide such information, without a reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence which can result in an unlimited fine. Additionally, those involved can suffer serious reputational damage from being successfully prosecuted for non-compliance with the law.
- TPR 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 TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).