The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has claimed that it has become a “more visible and proactive regulator” that is working in a “clearer, quicker and tougher way” in its annual report and accounts, which show that its spending rose by £8.7m in the last financial year.
TPR spent £83.5m during 2017-18, compared with £74.8m during 2016-17. Its expenditure was £100,000 higher than originally budgeted for and was mainly due to higher costs incurred in its enforcement cases and higher use of professional services to support TPR Future, a programme to designed to change how TPR operates.
The pensions watchdog spent £43.3m on levy-funded activities and £40.2m on its work on auto-enrolment (AE) in 2017/2018. Payroll staff costs increased by £6.5m to £42.3m compared to the previous year due to staff levels rising from 509 to 591. Temporary staff costs also increased by £300,000. Other expenditure increased by £1.9m across the organisation, a £500,000 increase for AE and a £1.4m increase for levy-related work.
In the accounts report, TPR said that it had performed well against its priorities for the year, which included overseeing the successful implementation of auto-enrolment, driving up standards of trusteeship and intervening more quickly when faced with underfunding or avoidance in DB schemes.
Chairman Mark Boyle said that TPR has changed as a regulator and that it was being clearer with those it regulates, quicker to act where its expectations are not being met and tougher on schemes that do not act in the interests of members.
“TPR is more than just a regulator of DB pensions,” he said. “We have been working to put new safeguards in place around master trust schemes, successfully implement workplace pension saving for nearly 10 million people and drive up standards of trusteeship across all schemes including public service schemes.
“Last year we set ourselves stretching KPIs to drive our clear, quicker, tougher aims. Meeting these targets is testament to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of our growing workforce. We carry this momentum into this year, determined to further evolve into a regulator fit for the future, and ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb said: “It has been a challenging but successful year, one in which we have learnt lessons and, thanks to our TPR Future programme, we have become a stronger and more effective regulator. “We are transforming the organisation to be more vocal and visible, using powers for the first time and more frequently while working more closely with our stakeholders and those we regulate.”