The Pensions Ombudsman and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have signed an information-sharing agreement, as the industry faces a rise in pension scams and there’s a “greater need for robust governance standards”.
The agreement – signed in March and announced today (21 May) – will see both organisations sharing information about complaints and concerns, with the aim “to protect pension scheme members, endorse and support the achievement of higher standards across the industry and ensure a safe pensions saving environment”.
For example, information concerning pension complaints handled by the Ombudsman may be shared with TPR, helping to inform its investigation processes.
Similarly, following an investigation of a pension scheme, TPR may advise the Ombudsman of any concerns it has regarding that scheme’s failure to implement policy and procedural changes, as recommended by the regulator.
According to Claire Ryan, legal director at The Pensions Ombudsman, the organisation “wishes to actively work more closely with pension stakeholders”.
She said: “Sharing information will not only safeguard pension scheme members, but should also help drive standards and improvements across the industry.
We look forward to developing our working relationship with TPR.”
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director for frontline regulation, added that the regulator has worked closely with the Ombudsman “for many years to better protect retirement savers”.
She said: “This agreement spells out formally the way we share information to help us to tackle scams, and identify trends and emerging issues so that we can work with The Pensions Ombudsman and other partners to intervene quickly to put things right.”
Margaret Snowdon, chair of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) and of the Pension Liberation Group, estimated pension savers have lost more than £1bn to scams.
TPR has admitted it may never be able to identify the scale of pension scams.