Now: Pensions to reapply for approved list early 2018

Now: Pensions to reapply for approved list early 2018

Workplace pension provider Now: Pensions will reapply to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) master trust assurance list earlier next year, Adrian Boulding revealed.

Now: Pensions director of policy told FTAdviser that the company is finishing moving all of its clients to its new proprietary software, Now: Pensions Gateway.

This will mean that the provider will no longer have the same problems which led the firm to leave the list five months ago.

With more than 1.4m members, Now: Pensions is the third biggest master trust in the UK market.

In July, the provider withdrawn itself from the regulator’s list, which signposts employers to schemes that have obtained an independent audit of their governance standards and controls.

At the time, TPR expressed concerns about the governance and administration of the scheme, including delays processing some contributions and communicating with a portion of members.

Mr Boulding said that the problem was created by joining different software, some proprietary and some external.

He said: “If the contribution data sent from the employer is correct, the system works perfectly. The problem was that the system got stuck if the information was not correct.”

This problem has now been solved with Now: Pensions Gateway, Mr Boulding said.

Over the past two years, the provider has been building a large internal operation out of its office in Nottingham for its proprietary software. This was launched for new clients at the end of last year.

According to the company, the new platform is much simpler to use, with stronger validations to prevent poor quality data getting into the system, which can cause significant problems further down the line.

However, it will take a number of months to Now: Pensions to get back on the regulator’s list, as it will need to go through the approval process from the beginning, a TPR spokesperson said.

The provider will need to give TPR a series of statements and reports, as explained on the regulator’s website.

TPR will then review the information provided, carry out a number of checks relating to the scheme and determine whether the provider meets the criteria to join the list.

Currently, there are 22 providers in TPR’s list.

Two months ago, Now: Pensions appointed Dalriada Trustees to its board, after discussing the matter with regulator.

At the time, Nigel Waterson, chair of trustees at Now: Pensions, said that the provider appointed Dalriada Trustees primarily to harness their expertise in resolving its “remaining historic data issues as swiftly and efficiently as possible”.

According to Alan Chan, director and chartered financial planner at London-based IFS Wealth & Pensions, it is important for any master trust to be on the regulator’s list, as it acts “like a ‘kite mark’ for a good pension scheme to use for auto-enrolment purposes”.

He said: “So, if it isn’t on there, then more due diligence would be required before we’d recommend them.