By Ilonka Oudenampsen
The Pensions Regulator has published its latest annual report and accounts, which showed it has mainly focused on greater transparency in communications to the pensions sector and preparing employers and pension schemes for auto-enrolment.
During 2011/12, TPR has updated its Trustee Toolkit, appointed trustees to over 500 schemes, and published its first annual funding statement to provide guidance on how pension scheme funding valuations should be approached in the current economic climate. Furthermore, the regulator continues to work with the government, EIOPA and stakeholder groups to ensure the UK’s position on pension regulation is understood and recognised by the EU.
TPR also published its six principles for good design and governance of DC schemes, issued a statement to clarify the key differences between DB and DC, sent thousands of letters and emails to help preparations for auto-enrolment, and launched online interactive tools to help small businesses understand their duties.
TPR chief executive Bill Galvin said: “In 2011/12, the Pensions Regulator had two main tasks: to prepare the ground for automatic enrolment and to work with DB schemes and sponsors through challenging times for funding plans. This report presents strong progress and significant achievements in both areas.”
The regulator’s chairman Michael O’Higgins said: “Sponsoring employers and pension trustees have had an extremely testing time as a result of the eurozone crisis and the continued low-interest rate environment. While always focusing on protecting members, we’ve sought to apply the defined benefit funding regime flexibility with due account to affordability. I’m also committed to providing as much help as we can to the pensions sector via transparent communications including an annual funding statement and using our power under the Pensions Act to publish details of specific cases.”