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UK lawmakers to review powers given to Pensions Regulator

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UK lawmakers are set to review the powers granted to the Pensions Regulator (TPR), as they push ahead with a broader examination of the regulatory framework.

The work and pensions select committee, which recently conducted hearings into the collapse of retailer BHS and how TPR and the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) were affected by the insolvency, will expand the hearings to focus more broadly on defined benefit (DB) schemes.

The new hearings are set to be scheduled once MPs return from summer recess in September, according to a spokeswoman for the committee.

The additional hearings are not being viewed as a separate inquiry, allowing the terms of reference set for the previous enquiry into the PPF and TPR to continue.

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The committee’s terms for its earlier investigation already include the level of resources made available to TPR, and how it prioritises its workload.

TPR has already suggested its powers could grow to allow it to scrutinise mergers and acquisitions where these directly impact a company’s pension fund.

The regulator has repeatedly come in for criticism since the insolvency of BHS, which saw the company’s two underfunded schemes transferred to the PPF.

A report by the Pensions Institute recently concluded it was faced with “irreconcilable” legal objectives, arguing it led to its role being “muddled”

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