Regulator to focus on protecting savers amid Covid

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Regulator to focus on protecting savers amid Covid
ByAmy Austin

The Pensions Regulator has said it will prioritise protecting savers during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as schemes continue to deliver benefits.

The regulator's corporate plan for 2020-21, published this morning (June 29), sets out how it will continue to address the risks to the savers through regulatory interventions and scheme supervision. 

It also highlights the regulator’s determination to continue to fight against pension scams by taking action against fraudsters and working with other key industry organisations to boost awareness.

Charles Counsell, chief executive of TPR said: “Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge for us all, but it will not weaken our commitment to protecting savers and the PPF by making sure pension schemes and employers fulfil their obligations and meet our expectations. 

“In the past 12 months, we have demonstrated our commitment to be clear, quick and tough. And now, more than ever, we intend to maintain this resolve.

He added: “We will continue to pursue our work with determination and, depending on how the current crisis unfolds, may publish a further update later this year on our plans and activities. 

“We will be transparent on how we will measure our performance as we continue to protect and build confidence in workplace pensions, both as the current crisis continues and well into the future.”

The six priorities set out in the corporate plan include supporting workplace pensions schemes to continue to deliver benefits despite challenges caused by Covid-19.

TPR will also look to protect pension savers through “proactive and targeted regulatory interventions” as well as continuing to make improvements to its own organisation to be able to handle any future challenges.

Other priorities include promoting high standards of trusteeship, intervening where there are DB funding issues and continuing its oversight on auto-enrolment.

Over the next year the regulator wants to introduce an interim regime for DB superfunds and improve its oversight of the governance and disclosure of the risks that schemes face from climate change.

The regulator was due to publish its plan earlier this year but chose to pause the launch and make necessary amendments after the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown affected the pensions market.

The TPR’s budget for 2020-21 is currently £104m, up from £99m the previous year, but this was decided before Covid-19 hit so actual spend may be significantly higher..

TPR’s chairman, Mark Boyle, said: “Pensions are long-term investments and our corporate plan makes clear that despite the challenges of Covid-19, our continuing focus will be on ensuring savings are safeguarded for generations to come.