Pensions  

Regulator fines professional trustee £6k

Regulator fines professional trustee £6k

Pitmans Trustees Limited, a firm providing professional trustees to workplace pension schemes, has been fined a total £6,000 for failing to prepare a chair’s statement for three different defined contribution (DC) schemes.

A new rule which came into effect last year requires trustees of DC schemes to provide The Pensions Regulator with an annual statement, signed by the chair, seven months after the scheme’s year end date.

The maximum fine for a failure to comply is £2,000. TPR stated it had applied the full fine to PTL because it was a professional trustee, and there were “no mitigating circumstances”.

The schemes in question were Precision Carbide Tools Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme, the Comshare Retirement and Death Benefits Plan, and the EBC Pension Scheme.

This was the second such fine issued by the regulator. In June, TPR fined the Abbey Manor Group Pension Scheme - which did not have a professional trustee - the minimum mandatory penalty of £500.

A spokesperson for TPR confirmed that PTL was the only trustee of the three schemes that breeched the rule.

“Professional trustees are expected to meet a higher standard of care and to demonstrate a greater level of knowledge and understanding than other trustees,” Nicola Parish, executive director for frontline regulation at TPR, said.

“[S]chemes should be aware that this type of breach will result in a fine and we hope that our report will act as a reminder to all trustees, professional or otherwise, to ensure they complete the chair’s statement on time.”

PTL managing director Richard Butcher told FTAdviser he regretted the fact that the firm had missed the deadline, and reassured his clients that another breach of this sort would not happen.

He said the failure to comply was a result of there being a delay in getting the new requirements into the system in time. The three schemes in question were among the first of the firm’s 260 pension clients to reach the new deadline, he said.

Mr Butcher pointed out that PTL had itself voluntarily notified the regulator of the fact that it had missed the deadline, and paid the fine in full without delay. He added that no member had suffered as a result of the breach.

james.fernyhough@ft.com