UK – The Pensions Regulator has surveyed occupational pension schemes in the UK and found a lot of scope for raising standards – with often very poor standards seen in defined contribution.

“The main theme to come out of this survey is that in certain areas, there is much scope within the industry for raising standards,” the regulator said.

It found that standards were “often very poor” in small schemes (up to 99 members) and medium-sized DC schemes. There are mixed standards at large and medium-sized plans.

Standards were often very good at very large schemes, those with 5,000 or more members.

The regulator received 424 eligible responses from a random sample of 444 schemes. It found that trustees at 23% of medium sized schemes and 62% of small schemes did not receive training, the regulator said.

And only half of large schemes had at least one trustee that had attended an investment training course in the past three years - even though 95% of large schemes had assets that were not solely invested in insurance policies.

For DC schemes, respondents cited lack of confidence, member understanding and inadequate contributions as key risks to providing members with adequate retirement benefits.

The regulator said there are “many activities underway or planned” to help trustees understand what is expected from them.