Budget cuts stall regulators’ workplace pensions probe
Pensions Regulator reveals in annual report that key areas of corporate plan not met due to constraints on finances.
Constraints imposed on The Pensions Regulator as part of the wider austerity in public sector funding have affected progress on plans to conduct with the Financial Services Authority a review of workplace personal pensions, according to the regulator’s chief executive Bill Galvin.
In his statement within the regulator’s annual report for 2011-2012, Mr Galvin says that the organisation has “been subject to constrained recruitment and tight controls on public expenditure”.
He claims these controls have resulted in it operating with around “20% fewer staff than planned in the budget”.
This “under-staffing” combined with an increase in “reactive work” in relation to the reviews of the regulator by the National Audit Office and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, prevented it from being able to deliver “key aspects” of the corporate plan, Mr Galvin adds.
In particular he highlights that plans to work with the FSA on “exploring the regulation of workplace personal pensions”, along with review work on defined contribution pension trustees and changes to the defined benefit market, have all “progressed more slowly”.
Mr Galvin says that the staffing reductions and delays to its planned auto enrolment timetable have resulted in it coming in £12m under budget at £30m for the year.
He states that some of the restrictions have now been lifted through “delegated authority” and that the organisation has filled 185 roles and recruited 165 people, which “sets us much better for 2012-2013”.