Opra reconsiders role of pensions whistleblowers

UK- The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) is reviewing its guidance for auditors and actuaries as whistleblowers, with the aim of reducing the high number of reports on minor breaches, and enabling it to concentrate on other areas.

The new guidance will set out those matters that Opra does and does not expect to be reported, a review of which will start after the government’s green paper on pensions is issued later this year.

It is hoped that by decreasing the number of minor breaches reported, Opra will be able to increase its focus on more serious breaches, namely those that can have a significant detrimental impact on members’ benefits, and those that carry a criminal penalty.

Opra will also be able to concentrate on matter that “can indicate potential dishonesty or mis-use of assets or contributions, and matters that demonstrate a poor standard of stewardship by the trustees.”

Tony Hobman, chief executive of Opra believes that levels of compliance have been raised over the last five years and that now is the right time to be moving on to concentrate on more serious breaches.

“the_review will free up our staff to give more attention to things that are of real concern to pension scheme members. Our new guidance will clarify that not all Pension Act breaches present an equal level of risk to scheme members’ benefits,” says Hobman.

It is not felt that the new guidelines will compromise members’ benefits.

The OECD has also touched on the issue of actuaries and auditors as whistleblowers. In its 12-point guidelines for pension fund governance released yesterday, the OECD encourages actuaries and auditors to report schemes to the supervisory financial authorities “without delay” if they are not complying with regulations.

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