UK - The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is seeking a consultant to review the risks surrounding defined contribution (DC) schemes and to propose a new regulatory framework.

In a tender notice, TPR claimed the landscape for DC schemes "continues to become more complex", and highlighted the pension reforms scheduled for 2012 - auto-enrolment and the new system of personal accounts - would add to this complexity.

TPR noted that the Pensions Act 2008 had set the organisation a new objective of maximising employer compliance with new duties such as auto-enrolment and to ensure protection for employees is being implemented.

As a consequence of the changing legislation, TPR is conducting a review of the risks around DC schemes, looking in particular at those that are "not appropriately addressed by TPR's regulatory approach or the approach of other bodies".

Under the terms of the proposed contract the successful consultancy would be required to review information and research provided by TPR and conduct additional research including interviews with key government and industry stakeholders and a "review of international regulatory regimes".

In addition, TPR is searching for a provider to:

Identify and evaluate/prioritise risks to DC schemes; Possibly undertake scenario modelling and sensitivity/impact analysis; Identify gaps in the current regulatory framework; Propose a new regulatory framework that is "robust and fit for purpose"; Propose how the framework will operate, and Identify the information TPR needs to effectively manage the new system.

The search for a consultant to review the DC system follows an earlier tender notice by the organisation for a provider to develop an employer compliance regime for the new system of personal accounts - essentially a national trust-based DC scheme - which TPR will be responsible for regulating. (See earlier IPE article: TPR seeks support for employer compliance)

Interested suppliers will be required to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) and the selection of tender participants will be based on criteria including the depth of understanding of the pensions market and regulatory environment in both the UK and abroad and its capability for research, analysis and risk identification and assessment.

The closing date for tenders or requests to participate is 24 April 2009 and further information can be obtained from the procurement department at TPR.

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