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Pensions regulator auto-enrol plans hit by budget cuts

The Pensions Regulator admits plans to scrutinise workplace pensions regulation with the FSA ahead of automatic enrolment have been hit by Government cuts.

In April last year, the regulator confirmed it would face a 25 per cent reduction in its budget over a four year period as a result of Government-wide attempts to reign in spending.

TPR’s budget for 2011-12 was £42.1m. However, the regulator says a combination of understaffing – brought about by the spending cuts – and the delay to auto-enrolment mean it has only spent £30.1m.

In his foreword this year’s annual report and accounts, published today, chief executive Bill Galvin (pictured) says: “The combination of unplanned calls on our resources and lack of resource has meant that some key aspects of our corporate plan for 2011-2012 have not been delivered, and response times in some of our key regulatory processes have been affected.

“For example, we had intended to develop further our thinking on how we might respond to the changes in the defined-benefit landscape, based on our enhanced understanding of DB scheme risk profiles.

“The bulk of this work has now shifted to 2012-2013, as our DB teams have been under-resourced, and casework was prioritised.

“Similarly, in the defined-contribution line, our plans for supporting DC trustees, our approach to the regulation of multi-employer DC schemes and our work with the Financial Services Authority on exploring the regulation of workplace personal pensions have all progressed more slowly because of the difficulties imposed by the restrictions on recruitment and resourcing.”

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