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Provider Now: Pensions resolves historic admin hurdle

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The long running administrative bungle at master trust Now: Pensions where thousands of members did not have contributions invested has been resolved says a report.

In April 2016, the pension contributions of almost one in three of the master trust’s members – an estimated £18m affecting over 265,000 people – had not been collected.

There were also ongoing problems both with the collection of contributions and with ensuring the correct amounts were invested for members.

In February 2018 the Pensions Regulator fined trustees at Now: Pensions £70,000 over administration failings and said these problems had to be fixed by July 2018.

TPR directed the trustee and the trust manager to resolve these issues by serving them with an improvement notice and third party notice respectively.

Now a report published today by TPR confirms it is satisfied the provider has taken “all reasonable steps to comply with notices” issued in relation to historic administrative issues.

It says Now: Pensions has worked closely with participating employers to reconcile member data and collect the backlog of outstanding contributions, and has rebuilt the data records of over 350,000 members.

TPR adds Now: Pensions is making good any investment loss suffered by members because of its administrative failures.

The watchdog is also continuing to work closely with the trustee to ensure it is correctly reporting the late collection of contributions from employers, as it is legally required to do.

TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish says: “When we launched our investigation into Now: Pensions, the master trust had significant administration problems in the way it was handling data.

“In particular, its failure to collect contributions was causing problems for employers and the pension pots of members were not growing as they should have been. This was unacceptable.

“Pension schemes, including master trusts, should be in no doubt that we will act if we become concerned about the way they are being run. We will not accept failings that put members’ savings at risk.”

Reacting to the report Now: Pensions chief executive Troy Clutterbuck says: “I am grateful to employers for their help and co-operation as we have carried out this complex work and I am sorry for the length of time it’s taken to put things right.

“As one of the largest auto-enrolment providers, I am acutely aware of the important role we play in supporting people with their retirement savings.

“We have made fundamental changes throughout our business to improve our operations and remain fully committed to the auto-enrolment market. We will continue to play a key role in safeguarding the success of the policy so that it delivers on its promise of providing millions more people with a better retirement.”

 

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