MPs to weigh new powers for regulator in DB pensions inquiry

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MPs are to consider strengthening the Pensions Regulator as part of an inquiry into defined benefit pension funds following the plight of the BHS scheme.

The Work and Pensions Committee will explore whether TPR’s powers are adequate and if its processes for dealing with schemes when a company is sold are appropriate.

BHS collapsed with a pension deficit of around half a billion pounds after being sold by Sir Philip Green.

The inquiry will also explore the sustainability of the Pension Protection Fund and its funding. In addition, schemes trustees’ role will be considered.

It will also interrogate the balance between funding DB schemes and the ongoing viability of the sponsoring company.

Recommendations and evidence should be submitted by Friday 23 September.

Committee chair Frank Field says: “The lessons of BHS must be learnt. This may mean strengthening the powers and resolve of the Pensions Regulator to act early, quickly and firmly with those who seek to avoid their pension responsibilities.

“It is important, however, that businesses that are run reputably and responsibly are not put under undue restriction. Ultimately, defined benefit schemes must be placed on a sustainable footing.”