The Pensions Bill was reintroduced to the House of Lords, which aims to crack down on pensions transfer scams and strengthen reporting of defined benefit investment strategies.
The bill, which was delayed by the general election, required DB trustees to set out a formal funding and investment strategy in a chair’s statement to The Pensions Regulator explaining the risks the strategy might pose to the scheme and how they will be mitigated, as well as the trustees’ view of their success in implementing the strategy and reflections on significant past decisions and lessons learned.
The regulator will be able to intervene and potentially direct that the strategy should be revised.
Chief Executive at the regulator, Charles Counsell, welcomed the prompt re-introduction of the bill. “The measures the bill proposes will allow us to continue in our commitment to be a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator,” he said. “The bill will give us the power to set and enforce clearer scheme funding standards in defined benefit pension schemes while also providing early warning of potential problems.”
Where problems do arise, new criminal sanctions and civil fines will act as a strong deterrent against risky and reckless behaviour, giving the regulator flexibility to issue fines at the appropriate level, depending on severity, he added.