Protecting savers and driving up standards in workplace pensions remains at the heart of The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) new Corporate Plan.
The Corporate Plan for 2020-21 sets out TPR’s priorities for the year ahead and has been adjusted to reflect the realities of how the pensions landscape has changed because of the pandemic.
However, it also demonstrates TPR’s ongoing commitment to tightening its regulatory grip through its clear, quick, and tough approach and highlights the importance of working with key government and regulatory partners.
TPR’s Chief Executive Charles Counsell said: “These are unprecedented times and TPR has responded swiftly and decisively to support savers and those who run pension schemes.
“Our plan outlines our re-aligned priorities and targets in light of COVID-19. But it also highlights we will not be blown off course and that our standards remain crystal clear.
“We are unwavering in our approach and we will continue to protect savers by using our powers to tackle those who flout the law, embracing new powers and continuing to forge stronger relationships with schemes so we can continue to support them and be clear what we expect of them.”
TPR’s Chairman, Mark Boyle said: “Pensions are long-term investments and our corporate plan makes clear that despite the challenges of COVID-19, our continuing focus will be on ensuring savings are safeguarded for generations to come.
“I am extremely proud of how TPR rose to the challenges of this extraordinary new environment. Our clear, quick and tough culture saw us respond flexibly and pragmatically to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to quickly bring in the right measures to help schemes and employers navigate these turbulent times.
“We know the best support for a pension scheme is a strong and solvent employer, which is why we will continue to support UK businesses while protecting the interests of the country’s pension savers.”
As well as supporting the delivery of benefits through changes driven by the pandemic, the plan outlines TPR’s continued commitment to protecting savers across all types of schemes through regulatory interventions and scheme supervision. Regulatory initiatives, paused due to COVID-19, will restart at the appropriate time.
The plan also confirms TPR’s determination to maintain the fight against pension scams by empowering savers and taking action against fraudsters, working with Project Bloom partner agencies.
TPR will also continue to support defined benefit schemes to achieve their long-term funding strategy and ensure those staff eligible are automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and receive the contributions they are legally entitled to.
The plan also highlights TPR’s ongoing priority to improve governance by providing clarity and promoting the high standards of trusteeship and administration expected.
The six priorities set out in TPR’s Corporate Plan 2020-21 are:
- Support workplace pensions schemes to deliver benefits through significant change driven by the global pandemic.
- Protect pension savers across all scheme types through proactive and targeted regulatory interventions.
- Provide clarity to, and promote the high standards of trusteeship, governance and administration we expect.
- Intervene where appropriate so that defined benefit schemes achieve their long-term funding strategy and deliver on pension promises.
- Ensure jobholders have an opportunity to save into a qualifying workplace pension through automatic enrolment.
- Continue to build a regulator capable of meeting the future challenges we face.
TPR will keep the plan and priorities under review as the impact of the pandemic develops and may publish revised intentions later in the year as necessary.
The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. TPR statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).