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OPRA wants fund managers to blow whistle

UK - The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority has suggested that fund managers act as “whistleblowers” for mis-managed pension schemes – which a trade body said could result in a conflict of interest.

OPRA said it has suggested to the government that it “should consider extending whistleblowing duties to fund managers and others who might receive or handle assets”.

Clare Arber, spokeswoman for the Investment Managers’ Association, said the proposal could lead fund managers into a conflict of interest. “It’s unclear how this would be resolved,” she added.

One of the Pickering Report’s recommendations was that the UK’s pensions regulator should rely on “higher level” whistleblowing.

Currently scheme trustees, as well as auditors and actuaries have certain duties to report to the authority. In October last year OPRA said it was reviewing its guidance for auditors and actuaries to act as whistleblowers.

Meanwhile, the number of complaints about pensions has risen substantially. In the first quarter of this year OPRA received 79,889 reports relating to occupational and stakeholder pensions, up from 66,393 in the fourth quarter of 2002.

OPRA, set up in 1996, has recently said it wants to become “more flexible, proactive, advisory and risk-focused”. It has come under fire for being obsessed with details at the expense of the “big picture” of pension regulation.

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