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Pensions regulator promises tougher oversight for workplace schemes

Lesley TitcombeThe Pensions Regulator will launch a new approach to the way it supervises workplace place schemes from next month to safeguard members’ benefits better.

An increasing number of workplace pension schemes will come under greater scrutiny from the watchdog through a range of interventions to address risks sooner.

The changes result from TPR’s major review of the way it regulates and aim to reflect changes in the political and economic landscape.

Key to the new approach is the introduction of a supervision regime to monitor schemes more closely, which will include higher and lower intensity interventions depending on the risks identified.

One-to-one supervision will be introduced for 25 of the biggest defined contribution, defined benefit and public service pension schemes from next month and rolled out to more than 60 schemes over the next year.

In addition to one-to-one contact, higher volume supervisory approaches are also being introduced from next month to address risks and influence behaviours in a broader group of schemes.

This second type of intervention will be piloted with approximately 50 DB schemes to assess compliance with messages in TPR’s 2018 annual funding statement.

That specifically concerns whether schemes are being treated fairly when it comes to dividend payments to shareholders.

TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “Following a complete review of our entire approach to regulation, we are now implementing a radical shake-up of the way we regulate to embed our pledge to be clearer, quicker and tougher.

“Schemes across all sectors, whatever their size, can expect the volume and frequency of their interactions with us to increase so that potential risks to pension savers are identified early and put right before it becomes necessary for us to use the full force of our enforcement powers.”

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  1. I have spent most of a long career in the pensions industry. Over that time schemes have been subject to the most amazing amount of interference and change through legislation and regulation .They now operate under a very strict regulatory framework and employers are becoming increasingly disenchanted.

    All this does is add one more impediment to employers operating schemes .Other than statutory AE schemes new schemes are rarely introduced. Almost all DB schemes are closed to new members and benefit accrual and are usually not replaced by adequate replacements.

    As time goes by employers tolerance level will be such that they will only offer what they need to by legislation.

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