Housing association deemed non-compliant after pension settlement

A housing association with nearly 10,000 homes has been judged non-compliant by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) after an unnamed executive was granted access to their pension before it matured.

The association, Ongo Homes, referred itself to the regulator after the pension settlement with the departing executive, reported Inside Housing.

The RSH said that the pension indiscretion had made the firm “liable for significant discretionary financial costs without visibility or effective input to the decision making”, and that it has “failed to safeguard its reputation, and that of the sector.”

Ongo Homes' compliance rating was reduced to 'G3' – meaning it did not comply with the regulators governance standards.

The firm paid a pensions authority to allow the named executive access to their pension before it had matured, which led the RSH to conclude that there were “material weaknesses in Ongo Homes’ governance and risk management frameworks which need addressing to ensure compliance with regulatory standards”.

It did, however, concede that Ongo Homes had accepted the need to take steps to prevent a recurrence and that the firm had expressed its commitment to putting things right.

Additionally, RSH said that although the decision making did not sit with Ongo Homes, there were opportunities for its board to identify and manage the risks, but these opportunities were not seized by the firm.

Ongo Homes manages around 9,800 homes, most of which are in North Lincolnshire, although it also operates in Bassetlaw, Doncaster and North Kesteven.

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