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Trustees think the Pensions Watchdog should be more accountable

07 December 2010

Trustees and pension managers want The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to become more accountable and to promote high-quality workplace pensions, a pulse survey of pensions experts revealed today.

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) asked trustees and pension managers whether the Regulator should be more accountable to its regulated community. Eight out of ten respondents (78%) agreed, while only 14% said no.

The NAPF will present its findings to Steve Webb, Pensions Minister, and David Norgrove, Chairman of the Pensions Regulator, who will both be speaking at the NAPF’s annual Trustee Conference today in London.

Joanne Segars, NAPF Chief Executive, said:

“The NAPF strongly supports the work of The Pensions Regulator in ensuring well run and well funded pension schemes.

”However, these findings send a strong message to the government about the Regulator’s accountability. 

“We think the Regulator needs to engage more with those it regulates. It should take a less prescriptive approach to regulation to ensure good quality occupational pension schemes thrive.”

The survey also showed that 61% of respondents think the Regulator needs a new statutory objective. That new aim should be to promote high-quality workplace pensions, and to ensure their health and longevity.

The Regulator exists to protect members’ pension benefits and to ensure that schemes are well-run. At present, it has three statutory objectives relating to protecting members’ benefits, and an objective focussed on implementing auto-enrolment, but nothing about promoting good quality or adequate workplace pension provision.

Ms Segars added:

“The Regulator does some vital work in safeguarding pensions, but we feel it needs to take a broader, longer-term view. The government needs to put fostering and developing good pensions at the heart of the Regulator’s work. 

“A new objective to promote good workplace pensions would improve engagement and help meet the Coalition Government’s commitment to reinvigorate occupational pension provision.”

Asked about their biggest challenge in 2011, the surveyed pensions experts identified a few major challenges. About a quarter (23%) said the switch from RPI to CPI was the biggest challenge; 19% cited the implementation of pensions tax changes; 18% said auto-enrolment; and 8% mentioned data cleansing.

An additional 31% identified other challenges which included the implementation of the potential public sector pension reform as outlined by Lord Hutton, and funding deficits.

 

Notes to Editors

 

1. The survey drew on members of the NAPF’s Trustee PensionsConnection forum and was run between 1 and 3 December 2010. It attracted 109 responses.

2. The NAPF’s Pensions Trustee Conference 2010 will take place today in Central London. Key Speakers include Steve Webb MP, Pensions Minister, and David Norgrove, Chairman of The Pensions Regulator. The full programme can be seen at
www.napf.co.uk/Conferences_and_Seminars/Trustee_Conference/Programme.aspx

3. The NAPF is the leading voice of workplace pensions in the UK. We speak for 1,200 pension schemes with some 15 million members and assets of around £800 billion. NAPF members also include over 400 businesses providing essential services to the pensions sector.

 

Contacts:

Paul Platt, Head of Media and PR, NAPF, 020 7601 1717 or 07917 506 683, [email protected]

Christian Zarro, Press Officer, NAPF, 020 7601 1718 or 07825 171 446, [email protected]