The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy as it plans to lead by example on creating a “fairer and more inclusive culture across the pensions industry”, it announced yesterday.

The strategy, which has been developed in discussion with organisations across the pensions industry, sets out how TPR will embed diversity and inclusion throughout its organisation and how it will support its regulated community to do the same.

It noted that the introduction of automatic enrolment has seen a dramatic change in the pensions industry. It has meant more people, including more women, more people from ethnic minority backgrounds, more young people, more disabled people, and more people on low incomes, are saving into pension schemes.

“With more people than ever before saving into a workplace pension, there has never been a more important time for pension schemes to be well-run, with good governance and decision-making at their heart,” TPR stated.

The strategy sets new targets that will ensure the regulator meets the following goals:

  • to be a fair, diverse and inclusive employer;
  • to build a collective understanding of why pensions inequalities occur and work in partnership with others seeking to reduce them;
  • to promote higher standards of equality, diversity and inclusion among TPR’s regulated community.

Charles Counsell, TPR’s chief executive officer, said: “This is a crucial time for organisations to determine their role in society and consider their impact. In recent years we’ve seen social movements bring long-standing issues into sharp focus, and the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have far-reaching consequences on the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.”

He said the regulator should be able to influence and drive change across the pensions industry and to do that “we need to take an honest look at ourselves as an employer and address those areas where we must do more”.

TPR’s chair Sarah Smart added: “Through our strategy, we are clear on our ambition for positive and lasting change across our own organisation, and the industry we regulate, to drive down inequality among savers.”

She said TPR will look to the pensions industry “to work with us and work together to bring real improvements in diversity in relation to decision making across the sector.”

She said this would improve the quality of decisions and it would mean that trustee boards would better reflect the diversity among savers.

Laura Andrikopoulos, head of governance consulting at Hymans Robertson, welcomed the regulator’s new strategy.

“We are keen to see increased focus from pensions governance bodies on the diversity of their boards with a view to greater appreciation of the diverse needs of their pension scheme membership such as segmented communications that recognise the impact on pot size of contribution breaks.”

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