TPR mulls enshrining risk warnings in rules

Pensions-savings-retirement-piggy bank

The Pensions Regulator is considering pushing for its guidance on the new retirement risk warnings to be turned into law, Money Marketing can reveal.

Unlike the FCA, TPR cannot set rules and must ask the Department for Work and Pensions to go further than issuing guidelines to trustees.

New TPR chief executive and former FCA chief operating officer Lesley Titcomb says: “There’s a perception, particularly among consumer organisations, that rules are better than guidance, and have more power and that therefore we can enforce more easily if someone breaches a rule or law.

“Our approach is education, enable and only enforce if you really need to. I’d far rather focus on the education and the enabled, good guidance, than relying on a rule but if it helps consumer and member organisations then it may be worth considering.”

Money Marketing previously revealed how TPR’s guidance for trustees conflicts with the FCA’s rules for contract-based schemes. While the FCA specified providers had to issue specific risk-warnings tailored to individuals’ circumstances and choices at retirement, TPR said trustees should issue “generic” warnings when members try to access savings.

But now TPR is “seriously” considering whether it should adopt the FCA’s approach for pension schemes that offer the full range of new pension withdrawal options, Titcomb says.