High profile scheme trustees shamed for failing to complete “most basic” duties

Written by Talya Misiri

The Pensions Regulator has revealed a number of high profile employers who have failed to comply with their basic pension duties.

In its compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin, published today, 10 August 2017, TPR has for the first time published the names of pension schemes whose trustees have been fined for failing to complete scheme returns or annual chair’s statements, in addition to including data on auto-enrolment compliance. Scheme of a number of high profile organisations including national and multinational firms are presented on the list.

Between April and June 2017, the trustees of 20 schemes received a mandatory fine for not preparing a chair’s statement. TPR noted that a large proportion of those who did not produce a statement were schemes with less than 100 members, although some were larger employers.

In the same quarter, 45 trustees were fined for failing to submit scheme returns, even after being issued a warning from the regulator.

Furthermore, TPR posted a list of employers taken to court for failing to pay fines for auto-enrolment non-compliance. Each of these had been issued with an escalating penalty notice, but still failed to pay their fine.

TPR also issued 4,794 fixed penalty notices of £400 auto-enrolment non-compliance to employers in the quarter, up from 4,673 the previous quarter.

The bulletin also noted that TPR carried out a total of 276 inspections in the quarter, up from 224 the previous quarter and the most completed to date in a single quarter.

TPR has said that it will consider taking further enforcement action against employers who continue to neglect their duties, including prosecution in appropriate cases in accordance with TPR’s published prosecution policy.

TPR executive director for frontline regulation Nicola Parish said: “It is concerning that the trustees of some schemes, including those of some high profile organisations, are failing to complete some of their most basic legal pension duties.

“We expect trustees to comply with their basic duties including providing information in the scheme return on time. Accurate and up-to-date data is the lifeblood of a regulator and enables us to operate effectively. Non-compliance with basic requirements can also be an indicator of broader governance issues within a scheme.

“We want all members to be saving in well-run schemes and will take action to help schemes get the basics right. Size doesn’t matter – if you breach your duties, you will face action."

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