The Pensions Regulator has appointed Mel Charles as director of automatic enrolment, following the departure of Darren Ryder earlier this year.
In his new role Mr Charles will be responsible for leading the regulator's AE work, including supporting employers as they navigate the current challenges as a result of Covid-19 and helping them to continue to meet their AE responsibilities.
Mr Charles has worked in the field since 2011 when he joined the regulator to play a role in the design and delivery of the auto-enrolment programme.
In his most recent role as head of compliance and enforcement, Mr Charles led the ‘TPR Future’ programme that re-designed the regulator's approach to regulation, challenging it to become ‘clearer, quicker and tougher’.
Prior to joining the watchdog, Mr Charles was head of risk management at the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and was also head of resource management at the Department for International Development.
He is also a qualified solicitor and began his career in private practice.
TPR chief executive Charles Counsell said: “I am extremely pleased that Mel has been appointed to lead our automatic enrolment team, particularly in these challenging times. Mel played a key part in the initial rollout of automatic enrolment which has been a huge success that we at TPR are extremely proud of.
“Mel was also at the forefront of TPR’s work to sharpen our approach to become the clearer, quicker, tougher regulator that we are today. I am confident his wealth of experience and skill will be invaluable in maintaining the success of AE so that savers receive the pensions they are entitled to, now and in the future.”
Mr Charles said: “I am very proud to be returning to TPR’s automatic enrolment operation as its director, but I could never have predicted that my re-introduction would be in the incredibly difficult circumstances created by Covid-19.
“Like many organisations in the UK, we are in a period of constant review and change. We will continue to make sure that our guidance and regulatory activity is proportionate as we support employers to meet their responsibilities to provide pensions for their staff.
“Despite the current challenges, we must not lose sight of the fact that automatic enrolment is a long-term commitment to savers that has required the combined effort of government, employers, pension schemes and a range of other service providers to deliver.
“It is my privilege to be leading the team responsible for protecting those savers as they work towards their retirement.”
Previous director of AE Darren Ryder left his role earlier this year to develop AE systems in other countries.
Mr Ryder joined TPR eight years ago to support the initial design and delivery of auto-enrolment in the UK following his involvement in the successful implementation of Kiwi-Saver in New Zealand.