UK - Schemes reported for making late payments have almost halved since regulators urged actuaries and auditors to focus on more serious issues.
The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority’s eighth annual report reveals that payment issues have dropped 46% to 145,900 last year.
By contrast, OPRA has taken greater action stepping in – often appointing an independent trustee – at schemes with major funding difficulties or where there are serious concerns over their management.
OPRA says the changes reflect provisions in the Pensions Bill for “the new kind of regulator” to focus on breaches of practice that are of “material significance”.
OPRA said that some of the most serious cases involved underfunded schemes at companies close to liquidation where directors were attempting to take generous early retirement pensions which would have left diminished funds for other employees.
In other cases OPRA appointed trustees at schemes that it felt were being run incompetently, in particular final salary schemes without actuaries and schemes which had “no clue” how to undertake a winding-up process.
In all, the regulator claims to have saved pension scheme assets of £53m through the appointment of its independent trustees.
It also claims victory in greatly curbing the activities of pension liberators who have illegally persuaded scheme members under the age of 50 to transfer their pensions to them in return for cash.
OPRA also claimed that its decisions to appoint trustees – particularly at firms that had gone into liquidation – had secured benefits totalling over £23.8m for scheme members.
Chairman Harriet Maunsell said: “OPRA has moved towards a more risk-based method of regulation, focusing on breaches that are of ‘material significance’.
“We are responding to the real risks facing members of pension schemes.
“We believe that through our work in the coming year we will be able to offer a sound basis from which the pensions regulator can grow.”
Potential changes to accounting standards and increased pressure on companies to accelerate contributions could worsen FTSE 100 scheme funding by up to £100bn, according to Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP).
Smart Pension has taken on over 20,000 active members from the £20m Corpad Master Trust, following a strategic review by the ceding firm's trustees.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) allegedly obstructed a whistleblower as she tried to discover the true value of the deficit in its defined benefit (DB) section, according to reports.
The Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) has launched a number of templates and guidance to help pension schemes deliver greater value for savers with enhanced disclosure of transaction cost information.