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Pensions regulator confident over ‘really rapid’ response to British Steel re-run

TPR chief executive Charles Counsell

The Pensions Regulator’s new chief executive Charles Counsell has told MPs he is “confident” it will “respond really rapidly” to any future misselling scandal along the lines of British Steel.

Giving evidence to the work and pensions select committee today, Counsell was asked to provide an update on the rollout of a review into the regulator’s actions around the British Steel crisis.

TPR commissioned former Money Advice Service boss chief executive Caroline Rookes to look into the communications and support provided to British Steel Pension Scheme members.

The report was published in January and made a number of recommendations to help savers make the right decision about whether to transfer their pension pots from a defined benefit scheme.

There were specific suggestions for regulators and consumer bodies to carry out such as closer collaboration and more guidance for consumers.

When asked by MPs about the progress made so far, Counsell said: “We are making good progress with it. Before the Rookes review concluded, we were actively engaging with schemes where we thought there might be a risk for those transferring out of a DB plan.

“We have developed information trustees can send to their members. We have sent that to 38 sets of trustees to date.

“Secondly we now have a mechanism and protocol in place with the FCA and Money and Pensions Service to be able to respond rapidly should something like this happen again.

“Our respective roles are really clear and actioned out there. The final part of the action plan is a common hub of information on our respective websites.

“We are working on that and expect to have it in place by September. I am confident we will respond really rapidly to [a British Steel-like situation in the future].”

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