Now Pensions has voluntarily withdrawn from the master trust assurance list for auto-enrolment providers as it battles to deal with historic contribution issues.
The master trust said a change in third-party administrator had contributed to delays in processing contributions for "a small percentage of clients". As a result it said it had told The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to remove it from the watchdog's assurance list.
The list details master trusts which have received master trust assurance framework (MAF) accreditation, and which TPR has verified as meeting certain standards of governance and administration. Without Now Pensions, 22 master trusts are on the list.
Now Pensions also blamed "complexity of some of the cases", "poor quality data" and the systems used by incoming clients for the delay.
It added it had kept TPR abreast of all developments, and had a continuing and open dialogue with the watchdog.
Chief executive Morten Nilsson said that it was appropriate to withdraw from the list while it attempted to resolve the issues.
"Now Pensions has always been a huge supporter of the master trust assurance framework and was one of the first providers to adopt it," he said. "We've since completed the framework three times and remain committed to it.
"We feel that while we work to resolve these historic issues and ensure that every scheme is up to date, it's appropriate to withdraw from the list. We are confident that this work will be completed shortly. Providing our clients and members the best possible service remains our top priority."
Now Pensions said it had invested heavily in new systems, people and processes to try to address the issue and prevent a recurrence.
Nilsson apologised to the master trust's members: "We should have been more proactive in our communications with affected clients and members regarding these issues and apologise wholeheartedly to those we have let down. In this instance, we have fallen short of the standard of service we aim to provide."
TPR executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish added: "Those in the master trust marketplace should be in no doubt that we will act if we become concerned about the way schemes are being run, no matter the size of the scheme involved.
"Schemes have a responsibility to meet specific criteria required to remain on the master trust assurance list. If a scheme fails to meet the criteria, we will consider removing it from the list."
The regulator added Now Pensions could apply to re-enter the list once it has addressed the issues.
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