UK watchdog offers guidance on pension transfers
UK - The UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) has moved to clarify the roles of employers and trustees regarding transfer incentives.
The regulator said trustees must understand transfers are "not in members' interests" and that trustees should therefore approach any exercise "cautiously and actively".
TPR said its position was aligned with that of the Financial Services Authority and that its transfer guidance would replace the 'Inducement Offers' guidance published in 2007.
It outlined five criteria trustees must meet to ensure transfers are made in an "open, fair and transparent" manner.
Trustees must provide members with "clear information that is not misleading", as well as give "impartial and independent" advice.
Trustees must also engage in the offer process and apply a "high level of scrutiny" to all incentive exercises.
Further, they must make sure any transfer offers are consistent with the principles in the guidance.
And finally, "no pressure of any sort" should be put on members to accept a given offer.
David Norgrove, TPR chair, said the watchdog had seen some worrying behaviour since it published its initial guidance in 2007.
"There has been a box-ticking approach that has led to exercises being run without due consideration to scheme members," he said.
"As a result, we will be looking closely at exercises and working with other regulatory bodies to ensure standards are improved."
He added that the Pensions Ombudsman would take the TPR's new guidance into account when looking into future complaints.