The latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin has been published by The Pensions Regulator and it highlights how rogue employers fraudsters and poorly performing trustees are being tackled through the use of their wider range of powers.
Between April and June 2018, a number of the regulator's new powers were used for the very first time in cases involving scheme valuations, automatic enrolment and pension scams.
Firstly, production orders were used under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in an investigation into pension fraud. Secondly, in a case where they find a trustee for failure to complete a valuation on its DB pension scheme, it used new powers under section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995. And thirdly, The Pensions Regulator successfully prosecuted a recruitment company, its directors and a number of its senior staff after they worked together to illegally opt out workers who had been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. This was the first time the regulator has prosecuted offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Each of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.
Nicola Parish, TPR's Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:
"Our actions over the quarter demonstrate how we are continuing to develop as an organisation to be clearer, quicker and tougher."
"We're using powers for the first time and working closely with other organisations to better protect members of pension schemes."
"It isn't always necessary for us to use our powers though. In a recent DB funding case, we gained a positive result by working with an employer and its scheme trustees to agree on a funding proposal rather than having to use our formal powers under the Pensions Act 2004."
"The employer and trustees were considering clearing the £120m deficit using a 14-year recovery plan but TPR took issue with this proposal particularly as the employer was strong and paid large dividends. TPR was clear in its expectations and both the employer and the trustees put in place a plan to clear the deficit in seven years through far larger payments into the scheme."