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TPR to spend £30m on auto-enrolment regulation this year

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The Pensions Regulator will have almost £30m to spend on regulating automatic enrolment during 2013/14 as it looks to boost its enforcement capabilities ahead of SMEs’ staging dates.

TPR, which is responsible for regulating workplace pension schemes, this week published its corporate plan covering the next three years.

The regulator’s total budget for 2013/14 will be £66.6m, with £29.8m of this set aside for spending related to auto-enrolment.

Some £22.1m will be spent regulating defined benefit schemes, with the remaining £14.7m allocated to defined contribution schemes, governance and administration.

TPR’s total budget is expected to rise to £79.4m in 2014/15 and £87.9m in 2015/16.

In a joint foreword to the corporate plan, TPR chief executive Bill Galvin and chairman Michael O’Higgins say: “We aim to make it as easy as possible to comply with the new duties, by helping with software development, awareness campaigns and education programmes. 

“In parallel, we will make clear that non-compliance is not an option, and our investment in building intelligence and enforcement capabilities will increase substantially this year, ahead of the staging dates for medium and small employers commencing in 2014/2015.”

Other key areas of focus for TPR between now and 2016 include reducing risks to DB members, improving outcomes for DC members and improving governance and administration.

In addition, from 2015 TPR will take responsibility for regulating the governance and administration of public service pension schemes.

TPR says regulation of public sector scheme funding will be carried out by another Government organisation.

Chase de Vere head of communications Patrick Connolly says: “You could argue that workplace pensions are being regulated on a shoestring, with a heavy reliance on the role of the employer in making sure they meet the auto-enrolment rules.

”Auto-enrolment is absolutely crucial in getting people to save for their retirement and the regulator has a duty to make sure employers of all sizes comply with the rules, so it makes sense for them to focus on compliance and raising awareness now.”

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