PA Spring Conference: TPR confirms several upcoming consultations

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed plans for a number of upcoming consultations on key industry developments, while calling on the pensions industry to help prevent a cost of retirement crisis amid recent financial challenges.

Speaking at the Pensions Age Spring Conference 2022, TPR CEO, Charles Counsell, said the regulator planned to consult on a revised code of practice on notifiable events, the authorisation and supervision requirements for collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, and the updated DB funding code.

"We also plan to consult on a new enforcement policy, which will set out our enforcement in relation to defined benefit (DB), DC and hybrid public service schemes," he continued.

“We will be publishing these soon, in what we hope will be an easy to navigate form."

In addition to this, Counsell announced plans to consult on an update to the regulator's prosecution policy, which will cover its overall approach in that area.

Indeed, he emphasised that the regulator had been “very busy in this area”, noting the recent success achieved by TPR in court last week, and in the Norton Motorcycles case earlier this year.

"We’ll also establishing, for the first time, a victim support service, which will be led by Money and Pensions Service," he added.

A joint feedback statement from TPR and the Financial Conduct Authority is also expected in "late May", following the recent joint consultation on value for money.

He continued: “There are several challenging policy issues in this space that need to resolved, so we are committed to working closely with DWP and FCA on this and we've initially agreed a timeline for the rules and regulations to come into force late next year, following consultation.

“We’re looking to take a phased approach, focusing initially on value for money, particularly default arrangements for workplace schemes.”

Counsell acknowledged that there were concerns over the number of consultations undertaken in the past year, reassuring the industry, however, that TPR will work closely with others to try to make sure it consults together where possible, and look at ways to make consultations smarter.

He also emphasised the need for the industry to help support savers to avoid the cost of living crisis from becoming a cost of retirement crisis.

“As an industry, we need to encourage and support savers to keep saving, to help them understand that the impact of immediate financial pressures will not be best addressed by opting out or reducing pension contributions or making poor decisions on transferring a DB pension," he stated.

“We need to help them appreciate that investing in saving for their own future is worthwhile and prudent, because retirement costs are not just measured in pounds and pence, ultimately they are lived.”

Counsell added that TPR is “very much on the side of action”, urging the industry not to fall into the trap of thinking the regulator will be relaxing its stance because times are challenging.

“We will continue to be tough on those we need to be tough on, scammers, fraudsters and criminal gangs, and those who fail treat savers fairly should be mindful of our powers and our willingness to prosecute,” he added.

“We supported trustees and the industry through the initial impacts of the global pandemic with guidance and regulatory flexibility. We will continue to do so during this period of economic pressure, but that does not mean complacency should creep in."

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