The Pensions Regulator has moved to allay provider fears over data protection issues ahead of automatic enrolment.
Some insurers are concerned that they would be unable to comply with the regulator’s requirement to hold personal information from members who have opted out of a pension scheme because this could breach data protection rules. Aegon regulatory strategy manager Kate Smith says: “The Pensions Regulator has set out some pretty burdensome reporting requirements for providers and administrators.
“Pension providers such as Aegon are on the hook as far as opt-out information is concerned, so we are supposed to keep hold of a member’s details even if they leave the scheme.
“But there is a significant data protection issue here because at the moment we, as a provider, are not allowed to hold information on someone after they leave the scheme.”
However, a carve-out of data protection legislation, announced by the Information Commissioner last year, means providers will be able to meet its requirements without breaching data rules.
A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator says: “The Data Protection Act states that personal data should be kept for no longer than is necessary. New regulations relating to workplace pensions reform set out a preservation period for certain records by organisations such as pension providers.
“It is important to note that guidance from the Information Commissioner’s office states if an organisation keeps personal data to comply with a duty – such as the requirement to keep records relating to auto-enrolment – it will not be considered to have kept the information for longer than necessary.”