Pensions Regulator  

Pension trustees fined over accounts

Pension trustees fined over accounts

Four trustees of Pakistan International Airlines' pension scheme have been fined for failing to get accounts audited on time for two years in a row.

It is the first time The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has used its fining power under section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 against a scheme for this type of governance failure.

The trustees, Azhar Javaid Hussain, Saeed Ahmed, Mian Asim Baber and Waseem Ahmad, were fined £500 each after the accounts of Pakistan International Airlines Retirement and Death Benefits Plan were not obtained in audited forms in 2015 or 2016 and no reasonable excuse was given.

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Trustees or scheme managers of most pension schemes are legally required to obtain audited accounts and an auditor's statement about contributions every year.

The Pensions Regulator found the trustees had treated this obligation as low priority and had not treated it as important even after the scheme's actuary highlighted the problem to the watchdog in a breach of law report in November 2016.

The determinations panel of The Pensions Regulator agreed the trustees had ample time to redress the breaches and did not give a reasonable excuse for the failures.

Nicola Parish, executive director of Frontline Regulation, said: "We will take action if we believe members' benefits are at risk from failures in a scheme's governance and administration.

"Obtaining audited annual scheme accounts is a statutory requirement and a fundamental aspect of good governance.

"Failure to obtain audited accounts can hinder a scheme's ability to obtain a valuation and can also be an indication of wider governance failings.

"This case, and the first use of our section 10 power to enforce against breaches of this nature, is in line with our clearer, quicker and tougher approach. We will make full use of the powers available to us."