By Matt Ritchie
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched its 2011 education drive highlighting the importance of administration in enabling good outcomes from pensions saving.
Announcing the launch, the Regulator said that over the coming weeks it will seek to help increase trustee and administrator understanding of their accountabilities and responsibilities for achieving high standards.
Executive director with responsibility for DC, governance and administration issues at TPR June Mulroy said the Regulator expects trustees and their administrators to place an “unwavering focus” on standards, and understand their respective responsibilities in order to inspire confidence in saving.
“Retirement savers rightly expect their pension to be accurate and to reflect their contributions. But poor administration and record-keeping can undermine good outcomes for members,” Mulroy said.
Further, Mulroy added that to support trustees and administrators, the Regulator will be highlighting exemplars of good practice and pointing to other sources of information and assistance to enable good outcomes.
In the coming weeks the Regulator will be publishing a guide to assist trustees when talking to their administrators about achieving good quality data, and a statement detailing what trustees should expect of their auditors around record-keeping.
The Regulator will also publish research on how its record-keeping guidance has been taken up and the implications it has for record-keeping and administration. In addition, it will reiterate its expectations for schemes that are winding-up and set out new examples of best practice showing that the process can be completed within two years.
It will also be highlighting to trustees and administrators how engaging with NISPI can help them complete work around winding-up and contracting-out more effectively.
Responding to the announcement, National Association of Pension Funds chief executive Joanne Segars said that “good housekeeping” was essential to the running of a pension scheme.
“We’re supportive of the Regulator’s overall aim to raise standards of administration and record-keeping. The vast majority of pension schemes are well run, but there is always room for improvement, especially among some smaller schemes.
“But the Regulator needs to maintain a proportionate approach to this campaign. Schemes should not feel pressured to spend money on new admin systems if members would gain more by seeing the cash spent elsewhere,” Segars said.