From 1 November 2011 the Pensions Regulator will require trustees to list each of their scheme’s “statutory employers” on their scheme return. Satisfying the new requirement is not as easy as it may seem.
Statutory employers are, essentially, those entities which satisfy the statutory definitions of employer for the purposes of employer debt, scheme funding and Pension Protection Fund eligibility and may include employers which have ceased to participate in the scheme. The definitions are slightly different for each of the three categories and trustees may need to undertake significant investigations to satisfy the Regulator’s new requirement. Note that failure to take reasonable steps to provide complete and accurate information to the Regulator could lead to civil penalties.
Our recent briefing gives further details. Meanwhile it is important for trustees to:
- take urgent steps to identify the statutory employers for their scheme, which may involve reviewing scheme documentation and requesting information from former participating employers;
- if no statutory employer can be identified, inform the Regulator and consider urgently the level of support the scheme has and whether and how this should be strengthened;
- going forward, be meticulous in retaining records and recording the status of all statutory employers.