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  • International Workplace
  • 18 July 2018
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New government consultation to improve The Pensions Regulator’s powers

The government has published a new consultation which sets out plans to improve the Pensions Regulator’s powers and increase the protections for defined benefit scheme members.

This consultation’s proposals would enable the Pensions Regulator’s to:

  • be more proactive and get involved earlier when employers make changes which could affect the pension scheme;
  • obtain the right information about a scheme and its sponsoring employer; and
  • get redress for members if things go wrong.

This consultation is aimed at:

  • pension scheme trustees and managers;
  • pension scheme members and beneficiaries;
  • defined benefit scheme sponsoring employers;
  • other industry bodies and professionals; and
  • any other interested stakeholders.

It follows publication of the government’s white paper, Protecting defined benefit pension schemes, published in March 2018, which explains how the government intends to increase the protections for defined benefit scheme members and make improvements to the system. A defined benefit pension is a promise made by the sponsoring employer to a scheme member that they will pay a predetermined level of pension, regardless of socio-economic factors.

Commenting on the new consultation, Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:

“The pensions landscape is constantly changing and recent high-profile cases have highlighted the fact that we cannot be complacent. We need to ensure that the Defined Benefit system is tough enough to deal with abuses and continues to work in the best interests of those involved – for members and pensioners, for today’s workforce and for employers.

“Our recent White Paper set out our approach for the future of the Defined Benefit system, and supported the Pensions Regulator’s ambition to be clearer, quicker and tougher. For all schemes and businesses, we are clarifying the rules and expectations, but otherwise not making fundamental changes to the existing system. For the vast majority of responsible employers who are already engaging effectively with their trustees, the impact of these changes and new requirements is likely to be limited. However, for the small number of employers evading their obligations, we are putting in place stronger powers so that the Pensions Regulator can intervene more effectively to protect individuals’ pension rights.”

The consultation closes on 21 August 2018 and is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protecting-defined-benefit-pension-schemes-a-stronger-pensions-regulator