Snapshot of trust-based DC landscape launched as TPR calls for higher standards

The average contribution into trust-based pensions is £4,356 a year, 25 per cent of which is paid by the employee, according to a major new report from the Pensions Regulator.

Publishing its first review of the DC landscape, ‘DC Trust: A presentation of scheme return data’, TPR says there are 1.5m members of trust-based schemes, of which 532,000 are active members, spread across 54,000 schemes.

That compares to 3.2m members of contract-based schemes, 8.8m members of DB schemes and 14m personal pension plan holders. The review complements the Purple Book to give the most comprehensive view of the trust-based pensions landscape to date.

Employee contributions are 33 per cent of total contributions amongst schemes with less than 100 members, compared to 13 per cent for those in schemes with more than 10,000 members.

TPR has combined the launch of the report with a call for informed member choices at retirement and greater employer engagement for defined contribution pension schemes.

A statement called on trustees to do their best to help members who are retiring make the right choices about their savings and focus on improving the standards of pre-retirement processes and member communications.

TPR also wants to encourage employers to engage responsibly with employees about pension arrangements.

To help trustees ensure high standards in pre-retirement literature, TPR has updated its member leaflet on retirement choices. The leaflet describes the range of options available to a member approaching retirement, including annuity types and other alternatives. It is also reviewing standards of pre-retirement literature and processes in a sample of schemes.

TPR chief executive Tony Hobman says: “It is more important than ever in these challenging economic times for members to make the right decisions to maximise value for money at retirement.

“We know that our work on DC will enable trustees, employers, advisers and providers to improve the outcomes for DC scheme members. In the run-up to 2012 we are focusing on providing more education to assist employers with their pension provision and are looking at the standards in key processes for DC pensions. We are willing to enforce better practice, if we need to.”