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Pensions regulator drops large firm auto-enrolment investigations

The Pensions Regulator has dropped 89 investigations into suspected automatic enrolment non-compliance by large firms.

Auto-enrolment was launched for the UK’s largest employers in October last year. 

The reforms, which will also capture medium and small firms between now and 2018, require companies to set up a pension scheme for their employees in line with rules laid out by the Government.

In August, the regulator confirmed it had opened 89 investigations into possible non-compliance with these rules by large employers.

The Department for Work and Pensions says all 89 investigations have now closed.

It says: “As of 31 March 2013, the regulator reported it had opened a total of 89 investigations into possible non-compliance by large employers. These investigations focused on employer readiness (for example, communicating with jobholders) in relation to their duties and helping employers to become compliant.

“In line with its automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement strategy, the regulator has engaged with these employers and through education and guidance the investigations have now closed.”


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So …. why the investigation? And why were they dropped? I’d be interested to know the details. But it again looks like officious jobsworths being told to bog off by commercial enterprises who have the muscle.

    Let TPR just wait until it is the turn of the small firms – they’ll be run off their feet!

  2. Totally disagree Harry. It will be very easy pickings for them. The initial letter from a regulator to owners of a small business will likely do the in a lot of cases. The owners of these companies do not have a legal department that they can send it to and tell the department “Dont come back to me without a resolution. The poor small businesses will, like the small IFA just roll over and do what they are told as the cannot afford to do anything different. There will be a few well placed headlines in the news about some small business owner being fined big money or haing to lay people off to cover the costs and the remainder will fall into line. I dont think TPR will have much to do. Still on the positive note they may finally see, first hand the cr*p that we have had to deal with for years.
    Can you or anyone else out there let me know why we have TPR instead of it being within the remit of the FCA? Not that I think the FCA would be any better or worse at doing whatever TPR does. I have never understood this.

  3. You underestimate small firms Marty. A jump in Self-employment, an increase in unemployment, empty enrolled plans and scams and games I haven’t even thought of.

    So TPR will impose big fines and firms will go bust and more will be unemployed – until the Govt quietly has a word in TPR ear and we will get a similar story to the one above.

    You are probably too young to remember Selective Employment Tax. Companies ran rings round it, unemployment went up and it was withdrawn in about 18 months. AE is just another employment tax – viewed from the perspective of an employer. Moreover SET didn’t cost the employee money. With AE the employer and employee may well be singing from the same Hymn book. Having your take home pay forcibly reduced in the current economic climate is bound to go down like a bag of sick.

  4. When the small firms do not comply who will be responsible? Not advisers surely? Will anyone ever be prosecuted? I doubt it ,this disastrous ill thought out scheme ( Labour planned) will see complaints and ‘ mis selling ‘ abound and the regulators and DWP will wash their dirty hands of it.

  5. Harry is right.

    We have only 4 group scheme clients with staging dates in 2014. All of them quite simply do not wish to have any part of the whole exercise.

    With each of them employing over 200 people who are not currently members of the existing GPPs – by choice – we are looking at mass opt-outs from employees and actual staff cuts by employers.

    Any helpful tips for this IFA firm, particularly as the miniscule fees quoted for the work involved were greeted with shock.

  6. I agree with Harry (I think)

    We have bene setting up small group schemes for employers for over 10 years. Those who want them HAVE them, those who don’t eitehr becuase the employer doesn’t want to pay OR the employees don’t want or can’t afford it often DON’T due to the advice we have given the employer.
    This IS a tax on jobs.
    Pre Stakeholder I said all that was needed was to return to entry to a GPP being by default (opt out) rather than opt in. We had good schemes with high take ip rates where it was appropriate and one or two stupid staff who didn’t enter due to inertia even after presentations. They often entered 6 months or a year later after all their mates told them they were idiots.
    Good idea?
    Auto enrol YES,
    Mandatory employer contribution NO.
    Don’t let Politicians or L&G push stupid ideas.

  7. I have a slightly different aspect. I don’t like group anything – let alone GPPs. So the few corporate clients I have who contribute to pensions do so with the individual staff members own arrangement – anything from a SIPP to a Stakeholder. The firms only contribute by single premiums. The staff member sometimes has a regular premium but this is rare. More usually it is via salary sacrifice when the remuneration review takes place and some of the bonus is diverted. This allows firms the flexibility to contribute pro rata the fortunes of the company.

    What doesn’t occur to bureaucrats (who have never run anything except a bath and occasionally their nose) is that profits are never a given and fluctuate. Is it better to have a job with better security, or a company sponsored pension with less security? Anyway as I said above firms should ‘stick to their knitting’ they are not benefit agencies.

    None of this is recognised by AE even if the contribution amounts are in excess of what is required.
    It is a perfect demonstration of heavy handed bureaucratic interference into matters of which they have little first-hand experience. Flexibility is inimical to these people as is a free market economy. These Marxist/Leninist acolytes don’t seem to realise that we are supposed to be a capitalist economy. We are evermore under the dead hand of a command economy.

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