PLSA AC 2020: No spike in missed employer AE contributions, says Counsell

There has not been a “significant or unusual spike” in missed pension contributions for automatic enrolment schemes, according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) chief executive, Charles Counsell.

Speaking at the PLSA Annual Conference 2020 about the measures that the regulator had introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, he stated that “the vast majority of employers” have continued to meet their duties as they had been before coronavirus emerged.

Counsell added that the regulator had also not seen a rise in employers avoiding their defined benefit responsibilities, with around 200 schemes, or 3 to 4 per cent, seeking a delay to deficit repair contributions (DRCs).

This is far below the 10 to 15 per cent that TPR had originally estimated would seek delays, while the vast majority of the requests received were deemed to be appropriate.

TPR had given automatic enrolment schemes an extra 60 days with which to report payment failures and included the option for employers to suspend or reduce DRCs for defined benefit schemes where employers were in difficulties because of Covid-19, though these payments must be caught up with later.

Counsell said: “I really do appreciate that it is quite early days and that economic fallout from Covid is likely to put further financial pressure on schemes, employers and individuals. We recognise that what is happening with Covid remains very uncertain and so we are vigilant, and will monitor the situation closely and respond accordingly.”

Counsell’s speech came on the same day that TPR launched a new 15-year corporate strategy.

He commented: “It has been quite an extraordinary six months that we’ve all faced as individuals, as an industry, as employers and as a nation. All of us are going through what is a deeply unsettling experience. We have had our working and our personal lives turned upside down and some of us will also have suffered painful losses.

“We don’t yet know what the full impact of Covid-19 will be but we do know that it will be profound and long-lasting. We also must expect that we are facing a difficult year ahead. I say a difficult year, but it may be at least a year. In this economic storm caused by the pandemic and all the uncertainty that comes with it, the security that we provide for workplace pension savers is more important than ever.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories


Sovereign bonds and climate change considerations
In Pensions Age's latest podcast, Laura Blows is joined by Hilary Norris, Product Manager, Sustainable Investment, EMEA, FTSE Russell, to discuss sovereign bonds and climate change considerations

Climate Investing
Laura Blows speaks to Aled Jones, Head of Sustainable Investing for Europe at FTSE Russell, and Adam Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, about the role of climate investing within a pension fund portfolio.

Managing volatility
In the latest Pensions Age podcast, Laura Blows speaks to Cambridge Associates head of European pension practice, Alex Koriath, about the Covid-related market volatility and how pension funds can prepare for the challenges ahead

Risk transfer opportunities
Laura Blows speaks to Lisa Purdy, Head of Fiduciary Distribution at Legal & General Investment Management and Gavin Smith, Pricing and Execution Director - UK PRT at Legal & General, about the impact of the recent market volatility on the bulk annuity and risk transfer market and the potential opportunities for the future

De-risking options for pension schemes
In this latest Pensions Age podcast, Linklaters' Sarah Parkin talks to Laura Blows about the wide range of choice available to pensions schemes for the partial, or full, removal of their risks