UK - Industry experts have given a cautious welcome to plans to replace the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority with a new kind of regulator (NKR).
Under the changes – set out by the Department for Work and Pensions in its Quin-quennial Review of OPRA – the NKR will advise trustees, employers and pension professionals and give it greater powers to intervene where members’ benefits are at risk.
Law Debenture director Eddie Thomas said: “The intention is right. But I think that the jury is still out as far as the implementation is concerned, as to whether we are going to finish up with an effective regulator who makes a difference to the security of members’ pension rights when the chips are down.”
Watson Wyatt technical consultant Janine McGahon believes the NKR will have a more important role than OPRA, which she said had dealt with every breach of the Pension Act 1995 “just to be on the safe side”.
She envisaged the NKR as focusing on serious breaches risking benefits or on multiple offenders.
But Norton Rose head of pensions – and legal adviser to Alan Pickering’s review – Peter Ford, referring to the proposed new Pensions Act, said that if pension legislation focused on the minutiae, then clearly the regulator was going to be drawn in that direction.
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