Regulator’s website accused of bias

Regulator’s website accused of bias

The Pensions Regulator has addressed criticism fired at a list featured on it’s website of pension schemes available to all small employers for automatic enrolment.

At present, the only pensions listed on the regulator’s website are trust-based schemes.

The regulator consulted in 2014 on whether to publish list of pension schemes available to all small employers for automatic enrolment.

In 2015 the regulator decided not to publish a list covering the whole of the market as it decided it would be difficult to manage it in an open and transparent way.

But some master trust providers have had their schemes independently reviewed to help them show that they meet a good standard of administration and The Pensions Regulator does provide details on the site of these schemes.

Henry Tapper, director of First Actuarial and founder of the Pension Playpen, has said as a result there is an “unwanted bias” on The Pensions Regulator website where workplace pensions are concerned.

Mr Tapper said as a result of the regulator’s decision the likes of Legal & General, Royal London and Aviva, which he claimed had great workplace pensions, did not get a look in on the website because they aren’t trust based.

He said: “People should be able to choose from the whole of the market.

“The only way you get to find out which insurers are in the market is you have to click a link, go to the Association of British Insurer’s website and the ABI then put up a list of all these insurers who will potentially do business with them.”

A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator said the website does make clear that there may be more suitable schemes in the wider market, particularly for larger employers or those with higher-paid workers.

The spokesman said: “We also direct employers back to the market via links to industry bodies schemes. We continue to review the information we provide employers to assist them in choosing a scheme.”

In March last year, The Pensions Regulator issued a response to consultation feedback received on proposals to publish a list of pension schemes available to all small employers for automatic enrolment.

According to The Pensions Regulator, the majority of consultation responses were supportive, but the feedback also presented a number of significant challenges relating to setting objective entry and exit criteria that could be applied fairly and evenly to schemes.

Without commonly agreed criteria, The Pensions Regulator explained to FTAdviser that it is difficult for the regulator to manage a list in an objective and transparent way, including providing appropriate levels of scrutiny, managing entry and exit from the list.

According to The Pensions Regulator, at present, this could only be achieved with substantial upfront and ongoing assessment of schemes intending to enter and remain on the list, which could be disproportionately onerous for those schemes and the regulator.