Focus on workplace pensions

An increasing number of workplace pension schemes will come under greater scrutiny from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) from next month. It is all part of what the regulator describes as “a significant shift” in its approach to protect savers.

TPR says it will be working proactively with more pension schemes through a new range of interventions to address risks sooner, clearly set out its expectations and take action where necessary.

The changes result from a review of the way it carries out regulation. Key to the new approach is the introduction of a supervision regime to monitor schemes more closely, which will include higher and lower intensity interventions depending on the risks identified.

Announcing the new approach TRP chief executive Lesley Titcomb stressed the organisations pledge to be “clearer, quicker and tougher”.
Schemes across all sectors, whatever their size, can expect the volume and frequency of their interactions to increase. TRP says the aim is for potential risks to pension savers to be identified early and put right before it becomes necessary for it to use the full force of its enforcement powers.

Hundreds of schemes are expected to experience higher volume supervisory approaches over time to tackle “different risks” across the pensions landscape. Meanwhile, the vast majority of staff across the UK are now saving for their retirement thanks to the success of automatic enrolment. A TPR report his month has shown workplace saving continues to rise with 84 per cent of employees now saving into a workplace pension, an increase from 77 per cent last year.

The report also shows compliance with the law remains high among employers. TPR’s director of automatic enrolment, Darren Ryder, said: “Employers nationwide have successfully complied with the law to give their staff the opportunity to start saving for their retirement, often for the first time.

“Our role now is to ensure current and new employers continue to meet their duties, including re-enrolment and next year’s further increase to minimum contributions, so that the culture of saving remains strong. We will continue to act if employers fail to comply.”

To discuss any aspect of workplace pension provision and enrolment please contact me on 01772 430000.