The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) have both called for the watchdog to have stronger and more punitive regulatory powers.
In their responses to the Work and Pensions Committee's (WPC) inquiry into defined benefit (DB) regulation, both bodies said TPR needs to be able to take a more interventionist approach, but also provide greater flexibility to well-funded schemes.
In its written evidence, TPR said it needs more flexible information gathering powers, with an "enhanced duty" for sponsoring employers and trustees to provide it with information on their scheme.
In addition, where TPR is required to move into "enforcement mode", it said it needs greater investigatory powers to fine schemes for refusing to provide information, to "seize and sift" documents, and to force relevant people to be interviewed.
Furthermore, it called for greater flexibility over valuation periods, stating well-funded schemes should not be required to conduct triennial valuations, while struggling schemes could have them more regularly.
The suggestion was previously announced by TPR's non-executive chairman Mark Boyle, who argued it would allow the watchdog to better focus its efforts on high-risk schemes.
The regulator also reiterated its call for mandatory clearance procedures, allowing it to be more proactive where it believes a scheme may be significantly weakened by mergers or acquisitions.
However, the watchdog said in order to fulfil such increased responsibilities, there was a "need to increase our budget and headcount".
A spokesperson for TPR added: "Our submission to the WPC sets out a number of ways where we feel the regulatory framework could be strengthened in areas such as clearance on corporate actions and information gathering.
"We look forward to giving evidence to the inquiry to elaborate on these proposals in more detail in the coming weeks."
In its submission, the PPF wrote "targeted improvements to the powers available to TPR may be needed" in order to ensure schemes are not forced into the lifeboat fund.
Such considerations should include reducing the length of recovery plans for strong employers, and giving TPR the power to wind-up stressed schemes when requested by the PPF or the scheme's trustee.
The watchdog should also be able to take an ‘anti-avoidance' approach to employers, fining those it believes are avoiding their pension obligations.
The PPF wrote: "[TPR] is best placed to indicate the capacity, capability and resourcing that they would require to deliver a changed regime. This would be particularly so if the regime were to become more pre-emptive, requiring greater engagement, with a resultant greater focus on DB given the regulator's other regulatory responsibilities."
WPC chairman Frank Field MP said the committee would discuss the proposals with TPR in its upcoming oral evidence sessions.
He said: "The committee has received very important evidence from the PPF on lines we might take in strengthening the proactive powers and abilities of the regulatory machinery.
"While the committee will be considering these proposals in detail, the PPF gives us a very useful steer on reforms we may wish to propose to TPR and we will have a chance to put these ideas, among many others, to the regulator when they come before the committee"
The WPC will hold its first oral evidence session on 12 October. Former pensions minister Steve Webb, Pensions Policy Institute governor Baroness Jeannie Drake, Pensions Institute director Professor David Blake, and Association of Pensions Lawyers member Rosalind Connor are all due to give their thoughts.
Around 75 responses have been received by the inquiry, with some respondents calling for conditional indexation and other temporary measures for struggling schemes.
However, any changes recommended by the committee must be approved and legislated for by parliament.
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