TPO reports firm to TPR after upholding complaint

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld a complaint against employer PSDT and will report the firm to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) after it failed to meet auto-enrolment duties in relation to the complainant.

‘Mr Y’ complained that PSDT had failed to pay both employer and employee pension contributions to the scheme in question, Nest.

The firm has now been ordered to ensure that all unpaid employer and employee contributions, totalling £1,228.22, are paid into Mr Y’s scheme pension.

PSDT will also make good any loss of investment, by paying an amount equal to the notional fund value had the contributions been paid into the scheme at the time when they should have been, in addition to a £1,000 award for the serious distress and inconvenience caused to Mr Y, the determination stated.

The pensions ombudsman, Anthony Arter, added that he would be submitting a report to TPR in respect of the PSDT’s failure to comply with the automatic enrolment regulations.

Having joined the firm as a full-time employee in March 2019, Mr Y was not given a contract of employment, but that it was agreed at the time that contributions would be paid into the scheme.

Deductions were subsequently made from his salary each month, but, excluding a single payment in June 2019, none of these employee payments were remitted to the scheme.

Furthermore, again excluding the single June 2019 payment, PSDT has not yet made any employer contributions to the scheme for Mr Y either.

Mr Y demonstrated through monthly payslips that pension contributions were deducted from his salary every month from March to August 2019, despite his membership in the scheme not starting until June 2019.

Nest previously wrote to Mr Y on 1 October 2019, to inform him that contributions for April 2019 had not been paid and that it had reported the firm to The Pensions Regulator.

Mr Y finally left the employment of PSDT in the same month, although he says he received no salary for September or October 2019, leaving further member contributions of £105.13 and £100 to be paid for September and October 2019 respectively.

TPO stated that PSDT has failed to respond to any of its enquiries, and that “despite several requests” it has failed to provide a satisfactory reason as to why the contributions were not paid on the due dates.

Arter stated that the firm had shown “a complete disregard” of its responsibilities and legal requirements, having failed to respond to any TPO office requests or the adjudicators opinion.

He explained that this amounted to maladministration by the firm, adding that the failure to acknowledge the adjudicator’s request for a response, or to engage with Mr Y, had resulted in an increase to the serious distress and inconvenience award, from £500 as recommended by the adjudicator, to £1,000.

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