TPR salvages more than £500mn in missing contributions

TPR salvages more than £500mn in missing contributions

The Pensions Regulator has secured more than £500mn worth of late or missing contributions since the advent of auto-enrolment, it has claimed.

Auto-enrolment began in October 2012. In a blog marking its 10th anniversary, the watchdog said it had also processed 3.2mn declarations and redeclarations of compliance, sent 12.8mn letters, managed 1.8mn customer enquiries and worked on 730,000 enforcement cases. 

TPR’s director of auto-enrolment Mel Charles warned that employers “have more to do”, including making sure pension contributions are correct and up to date.

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It recently carried out a survey of more than 20 large employers, covering almost 1.5mn staff.

“While the employers we inspected remained committed to AE, we found a number of common errors in respect of calculating pensions contributions and communications to staff,” Charles wrote. 

“We are now alerting employers to ensure they do not skip important steps in complying with their ongoing duties and to consult TPR’s online information.”

In October, the regulator published its consolidated enforcement policy, which contained new powers awarded in the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

TPR laid out its range of enforcement powers, which are divided into regulatory, penalty, civil and criminal powers. These are mostly discretionary, although mandatory penalties do exist, including a maximum £2,000 fine for failing to prepare a chair’s statement.

Failure to comply with TPR’s information gathering can lead to fixed penalty and rising penalty notices. 

Individuals aside, the daily rate of an escalating penalty reaches £10,000 by the 20th day of non-compliance, remaining at this rate for every subsequent day of failure to comply with the regulator.

Charles also acknowledged the imminent arrival of pension dashboards. 

“Trustees should be taking action now to ensure they meet their connection deadline and consult our guidance which sets out the steps they need to take to comply with their pensions dashboards duties,” he wrote.

In November, the Financial Conduct Authority said FCA-regulated providers would have an extra two months to comply with the regulator’s pensions dashboard rules on implementation, extending the deadline to August 31 2023.

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