TPR powers will not be retrospective, Opperman pledges

TPR powers will not be retrospective, Opperman pledges
 Guy Opperman, pensions minister

The minister for pensions and financial inclusion has guaranteed that the Pensions Regulator’s new criminal sanctions and information gathering powers will not be applied retrospectively.

In a written answer to Parliament published on Monday (January 11), Guy Opperman said the pension schemes bill should gain Royal Assent in due course, adding that none of the provisions in the third part of the legislation would be retrospective.

“The new criminal sanctions and information gathering powers will apply to all schemes where the act occurs, or in the case of a series of acts commences, after the powers come into force,” he wrote.

According to LCP, this is welcome news for the pensions industry, after there were concerns that TPR’s new power to issue contribution notices to corporate targets and individuals, forcing them to make additional contributions into their pension scheme, could be used to challenge decisions made long before the bill was put into law. 

David Everett, LCP’s partner and head of research, welcomed the ministerial statement, noting it was “consistent with how previous powers in this area were introduced.

“Corporate decision makers should not be in a position of facing new penalties for actions taken in the past”. 

Mr Opperman also revealed TPR plans to undertake a consultation on its new criminal sanction powers, and produce guidance taking into account industry views.

He also disclosed the government is eyeing additional powers for TPR with regulations to be put in place by autumn 2021.

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