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BHS enforcement action, new scheme return checklists and our blog on whistleblowing

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BHS: TPR launches enforcement action
 

Following a complex investigation, we’ve formally started enforcement action to seek redress on behalf of the BHS pension schemes.


We’ve sent ‘Warning Notices’ - statements of our case – to Sir Philip Green, Taveta Investments Limited, Taveta Investments (No. 2) Limited, Dominic Chappell and Retail Acquisitions Limited.

Maser trusts video
Each notice sets out the arguments and evidence stating why we think they should be liable to support the BHS pension schemes. This follows the sale of the business in March 2015 and its subsequent insolvency.

You can read more in our press release.
 

Helping DB schemes complete their scheme return

Defined benefit (DB) and hybrid schemes will soon be receiving this year's scheme return to complete. 


This year's return contains some new and updated questions, including whether the scheme is an executive pension scheme, transfers of member benefits, requesting the scheme’s Experian unique identifier and questions about the types of trustees appointed to the scheme.


If a DB scheme also has a money purchase element, there are also some additional questions in relation to these members on charge controls and whether the chair’s annual statement has been prepared and signed.


To help them do this, we have FAQs, checklists, and examples of the new questions on our website

New DB landscape report

We published a new report on all DB schemes registered with us – including schemes that also provide money purchase benefits and those not eligible for Pension Protection Fund compensation.


The report shows that:

  • There are 1.65m active DB memberships and 6,207 schemes.
  • 61% occupational scheme members have DB benefits.
  • 45% of schemes are closed to new members but existing members continue to accrue benefits.
  • 35% of schemes are closed to future accruals.
  • 15% remain open to new members.

You can see the full report on our website.

Updated whistleblowing service
 

If you have concerns about your pension scheme, or you think an employer, trustee or scheme manager is not complying with the law, then report it to us.

It’s now easier than ever to do this – we’ve improved our web forms, used clearer language and generally made the reporting experience simpler. It’s easier to find what you’re looking for and we’ve published new guidelines on the information you can send to us.

TPR Blog
We have many horizon-scanning and intelligence channels that feed into TPR, and whistleblowing is one of them – we receive an average of 240 reports a month. Whilst we’re experienced at investigating complex issues and navigating through huge amounts of information, whistleblowing can often give us further evidence about employers or organisations, which can help us form a case and challenge the issue.

Find out more on our blog.
Reaction to the Autumn Statement

We welcomed the government's announcement in the Autumn Statement that a formal consultation will commence on proposed measures to tackle pension scams. 

We continue to work with government and industry to protect members against scams, and we encourage people to take part in the forthcoming discussions.

No excuses – don’t ignore the workplace pension

Our latest compliance and enforcement report shows that the number of small and micro employers receiving fines has risen after tribunal judges rejected what the employers claimed were ‘reasonable excuses’. Being ill or short-staffed isn’t a good enough excuse for failing to comply with your automatic enrolment (AE) duties on time. 

As with any other business activity, if you’re too unwell to complete your AE duties, you’ll need to find someone else who can. Automatic enrolment is ultimately your legal responsibility, so whether it’s due to pension provider failings or illness, a judge won’t consider an excuse to be ‘reasonable’ if there’s something you or someone else could have done to remedy the situation in time.

We recognise that employers have unique circumstances and challenges, so if you’re struggling, please contact us - we’re here to help.
How to assess staff with varying hours and pay

When your staff’s hours and pay varies, it can affect when they must be put into a pension scheme and how much you both pay in. The contributions you and your member of staff make to the scheme will rise and fall in relation to the amount they earn. Below a certain amount you may not need to pay any contributions at all.


Watch our new animation, which explains how to assess your staff whose pay and hours fluctuate, and find out what you need to do by using the new online tool

 
 
 

The Pensions Regulator
Napier House
Brighton, BN1 4DW

 
 

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© Copyright 2016 The Pensions Regulator

 
 

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