“You need to get the basics right, including giving us up-to-date information about the scheme, and we will take action if you fail.” The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) move towards being a “clearer, quicker and tougher regulator” is apparent from this statement, taken from its most recently published compliance and enforcement bulletin.
TPR has recently fined the trustees of an unnamed pension plan for failing to comply with s.62 of the Pensions Act 2004, which requires trustees to “take all reasonable steps” to notify it of changes to registrable information “as soon as reasonably practicable”. In this case, the trustees had failed to notify TPR of the appointment of a professional trustee, which came to light after an investigation was opened following a failure to submit the scheme return.
Registrable information includes:
- The names and addresses of the trustees, the employers and the pension plan
- The structure of the pension plan, for example, the categories of benefits provided and whether the plan is open or closed to new members or benefit accrual.
Most occupational and personal pension plans are registered with TPR and are required to provide updates via the online Exchange service. This is explained further on TPR’s website.
It is the first time that TPR has used its power to fine under s.62. The fines imposed were £3,000 for the professional trustee and £300 for the individual lay trustees, reflecting TPR’s stance that it expects higher standards of professional trustees.
Trustees should be aware of their duty to notify TPR of changes to registrable information and may wish to check that they have adequate procedures in place for prompt notification. Professional Trustees should be alert to this requirement when appointed to a new pension plan.