UK - OPRA will be issuing a warning to employers and trustees about the powers of its successor.
The “guidance note”, which is being drawn up by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority’s strategic policy team, will be issued late in the year.
It will cover The Pensions Regulator’s controversial new powers, such as the ordering of improvement notices, the right to freeze schemes and the ability to ban schemes from claiming from the Pension Protection Fund.
OPRA chief executive Tony Hobman (pictured) – who will become the TPR’s first chief executive – said the note would also outline how firms would be prevented from dumping their scheme liabilities on to the PPF.
He said: “The point of it is to act as a warning and reminder for employers about the new regulator’s powers, which will be retrospective. TPR will be able to issue contribution notices and run checks on employers, for example. It will also set out the expectation of trustees and actions they should be taking.”
The guidance note will also address concerns within the industry about “moral hazard” clauses in the Pensions Bill.
The measures allow TPR to require company directors, shareholders and associated businesses to meet pension liabilities – a move which the British Venture Capital Association and others claim will discourage takeovers and investment in British firms.
But Hobman defended the regulator’s new powers, which he said were in the best interests of the members.
“TPR will be seeking to identify underfunded DB schemes and work with employers and trustees with the aim of securing full funding.
“TPR’s aims are to protect the benefits of scheme members, reduce the risk of situations arising that lead to claims on the PPF and to promote and improve understanding of the good administration of pension schemes.”
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