Pensions Regulator  

TPR has used AE powers more than 500,000 times since 2012

TPR has used AE powers more than 500,000 times since 2012

The Pensions Regulator has used its enforcement powers on automatic enrolment compliance on more than 500,000 occasions since July 2012, it has revealed.

Speaking at a Pensions Administration Standards Association conference on May 3, David Fairs, TPR’s executive director of regulatory policy, said that the watchdog was keen to sustain the success of auto-enrolment.

“Despite all the turmoil of the past couple of years, and the current economic circumstances of the UK, employer duties have not changed,” he said.

More than 10.5mn people have now been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension, with 1.9mn employers confirming that they have met their auto-enrolment duties, Fairs noted.

“We are, though, mindful of the current economic stresses, but the long-term benefits of automatic enrolment are too valuable to be lost to short-term volatilities,” he added.

The watchdog has used its auto-enrolment powers to conduct inspections, unpaid contribution notices and compliance notices, along with fixed and escalating penalties.

Fairs also confirmed timetables for a number of its activities. 

The watchdog has been working with the Financial Conduct Authority on a new value for money framework for schemes. The two bodies have analysed responses to their discussion paper issued on this topic in 2021.

Fairs confirmed that the regulators will publish a joint feedback statement later this month.

“There are several challenging policy areas that [we] need to resolve to develop the value for money framework,” he said.

Working with the Department for Work and Pensions, it is expected that the necessary regulations will come into force next year.

This will be conducted with a phased approach, Fairs said. It will initially focus on value for money in accumulation, and in particular default arrangements in workplace pension schemes.

TPR will also soon publish interim guidance on the pensions dashboards initiative, he said. 

The watchdog will write to schemes with more than 100 members at least 12 months ahead of their dashboard duties, he confirmed.

Alex Janiaud is deputy editor at FTAdviser's sister publication Pensions Expert