Almost four in 10 (38 per cent) of trustees have not enacted any of the ‘fair treatment actions’ that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) outlined earlier this year, it was revealed at Pensions Age's inaugural Great Western Conference (GWC).
In the last couple of weeks, TPR has written to around 50 pension schemes ahead of their valuations, asking to what extent they have been fulfilling its expectations in relation to the fair treatment of schemes.
There are four trustee fair treatment actions outlined by TPR, including: if the employer is paying dividends then trustees should check that the return to shareholders is proportionate and that trustees are expected to check whether the employer is maintaining or increasing dividends.
Furthermore, trustees are expected to establish whether other creditors to the employer are contributing fairly and should establish if needed, how the employer intends to cover risk.
Speaking at the Pensions Age GWC, TPR head of regularity transitions, Jenny Davie said: “This is off the back of the annual funding statement earlier in the year, setting out our expectations, and also our DB research paper that came out earlier in the year, that looked at these actions that we expect trustees to take in respect to fair treatment of their schemes.”
TPR is attempting to “get the balance right” on excessive dividend payments, as outlined by its chief executive, Lesley Titcomb, at the 2018 Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association annual conference.
Additionally, it was revealed at the Pensions Age Autumn Conference that TPR were planning to “probe” around 50 pension schemes over “excessive” dividend payments relevant to pension contributions.
Davie added: “We want them to come back to us within a relatively short space of time, around two months, to tell us how they are going to take those [fair treatment] concerns into account during their valuation.”