TPR issues good practice guide after blast from parliamentary committee

The Pensions Regulator has issued the first of its planned series of good practice guidance for trustees and employers in the wake of criticisms from an influential committee of MPs.

TPR’s guide to retirement options and the open market option in occupational DC schemes comes weeks after the House of Commons committee on public accounts issued a report slamming its achievements in raising standards of scheme governance and communications with members.

Accusing TPR of making a slow start in the regulation of money purchase schemes, the committee noted that while TPR has information on 99 per cent of final salary schemes by membership, it only has details of 32 per cent of money purchase schemes, despite having expected to have completed its database of schemes by last month.

The report also found that only 15 per cent of all trustees are registered on TPR’s trustee web-based training toolkit and the majority do not complete all the modules.

The committee, headed by Edward Leigh MP, also found that TPR has done little to generate improvements in understanding of pensions despite the risk this lack of knowledge posed money purchase schemes.

The committee did however praise TPR’s work on the regulation of defined benefit schemes.

The report says “There are signs of improvement in the adequacy of the funding of final salary pension schemes. However, TPR has made a slower start in the regulation of money purchase schemes, and much remains to be done in improving standards of scheme governance and communications with members.

“Further work is also needed to improve the information held by TPR about schemes and to use this information to target regulatory effort at individual schemes. It must also use its new powers, and clearly explain the reasons for their use, in order that the pensions community understand its expectations. In a field such as pensions, with long term liabilities subject to short term volatility, TPR will need to be alert to the scope for new problems and risks to emerge.”

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