TPR reveals compliance notices issued for ‘dishonest’ activity

The Pensions Regulator issued almost 22,000 compliance notices in the final quarter of 2018, it has revealed.

In its latest Compliance and enforcement bulletin, the regulator said that it used its special procedure, where there is an immediate risk to members, three times over the quarter, and made a further 149 trustee appointments to protect members’ benefits.

The watchdog said it continues to use new approaches to “disrupt, deter and punish dishonest activity”, despite the number of notices issued decreasing.

TPR director of automatic enrolment, Darren Ryder, said: “More than 1.4 million employers have done the right thing for their staff and we’re delighted so many now have the opportunity to save for later in life. But we are not complacent and will continue to ensure employers and their advisers meet their responsibilities.”

This week, the number of people who have been automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme reached 10 million.

According to the watchdog, automatic enrolment compliance notices issued fell from 14,997 in Q3 2018 to 6,795 in Q4.

Furthermore, TPR issued 5,758 fixed penalty notices from October to December, compared to 12,551 in the previous quarter.

“We will not tolerate behaviour by employers or their advisers that sees pension savers short changed by not being put into a scheme,” Ryder added.

The regulator said that it used its powers against trustees who failed to prepare a compliant chair’s statement 30 times in the Q4 2018.

TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, commented: “This report highlights the many wide ranging powers and ways of working that we are using to protect savers – from helping trustees deal more robustly with employers, to taking swift court action when we suspect members’ savings are at imminent risk.

“Our clearer, quicker and tougher approach is having a real impact.”

Earlier this week, the government outlined a package of measures to strengthen TPR’s powers, following its response to the consultation on a protecting defined benefit schemes.

TPR will receive a standalone interview and inspection power, which will allow an inspector appointed by the regulator to enter certain premises where members of the scheme are employed.

New fixed and escalating penalties will also be introduced for non-compliance with section 72 information requests.

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