Back in November last year, the Regulator published its consultation paper ‘How the Pensions Regulator will regulate DC schemes in relation to risks to members’. On 25 April this year, the Regulator published a further paper containing the key comments made during that consultation exercise.
The Regulator received over 40 responses to the consultation from a broad cross-section of the industry, most of which were generally supportive of the Regulator’s proposals to take a more active interest in DC schemes. However, there were some concerns raised e.g. that not all the potential risks to members had been identified, that the proposals could lead to an ‘overregulation’ of DC schemes akin to that already affecting DB schemes and that it would be inappropriate for the Regulator to attempt to drive down charges. The Regulator says the concerns raised will not require it to alter its fundamental approach, although it will modify some aspects to address specific issues where it considers it appropriate to do so.
Alongside the consultation response document, the Regulator has also published a discussion paper on its approach to pension scheme governance, entitled ‘The Governance of Work-based Pension Schemes’. The paper sets out the Regulator’s regulatory priorities for scheme governance, namely (a) knowledge and understanding of the trustee body, (b) conflicts of interest and other relationships of the trustee body, and (c) trustee procedures in the context of administration, investment choice and during winding-up. Whilst the paper is aimed primarily at the trustees of trust-based schemes, it also outlines how the Regulator envisages the above priorities applying to contract-based schemes, including GPPs and stakeholder schemes. The Regulator says that implementation of the above priorities will be principally through the provision of educational material, guidance and examples of good practice.
The deadline for submission of responses to the discussion paper is 13 July 2007. To download the Regulator’s press release announcing publication of the above papers and which contains links to the DC consultation response paper and the scheme governance discussion paper, go to http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/mediaCentre/pressReleases/pn07/pn07-05.aspx .