UK - The former Data Protection Commission has rebuked claims that pension trustees will be overwhelmed by compliance burdens with the introduction of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Lawyers have warned that up to 90% of all occupational schemes will be affected by the legislation and those which failed to comply by last Tuesday’s deadline could face fines through the courts.
But commissioner Anne Hind – at the renamed Information Commission – said trustees should not have any “major concerns” and did not envisage any compliance problems.
She added: “We are not making predictions as to whether pension trustees will comply in time. There has been a growing number of enquiries nearing the deadline, but the compliance issue has deliberately been introduced in stages.”
Richard Black partner at Wragge & Co stood by the implementation of the Act and the potential of compliance issues for trustees: “My own experience is that, based on advice from their advisers, trustees have been taking their new responsibilities very seriously. They have taken the attitude that the early compliance is required on the basis that prevention is better than cure.”
Within the amended Data Protection Act 1998 a clause allowed all institutions including insurers and pension schemes the right to a three year exemption period before compliance to the Act is mandatory.
However, the Information Commission has assured schemes and other institutions that further exemptions can be applied for, with the final exemption period ending in 2007.
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