UK Pensions Regulator probes four schemes over poor record-keeping
The UK Pensions Regulator has said it is investigating four more pension schemes regarding their record-keeping, and warned schemes more generally to take action to measure basic data such as members’ addresses and dates of birth.
Andrew Warwick-Thompson, the regulator’s executive director for DC, governance and administration, said: “It is highly disappointing to see that a proportion of schemes still do not see record-keeping as a priority.”
He said more needed to be done to make sure the right benefits were paid to members at the right time, and that schemes that fell short could be named publicly.
“We will be working with schemes to improve standards, but we will take action where problems become apparent to us and report publicly on the outcomes, as appropriate,” he said.
The Pensions Regulator said that, on top of the original seven cases it had opened as a result of last year’s review into scheme record-keeping, it had now opened another four investigations into schemes that were included in that review.
The first seven cases were still ongoing, it said.
According to the latest record-keeping survey from the regulator, the proportion of schemes failing to measure their common data – basic pieces of information such as the name, address, National Insurance number and date of birth of their members – had risen to 10% in 2014 from 9% last year.
On the other hand, it said two-thirds of trust-based scheme members were in schemes that had met the regulator’s common data targets.
But it also said a ceiling was being reached in terms of schemes engaging with the process.
Warwick-Thompson said pension scheme members had the right to expect to be in schemes that were well run.
“With the government’s legislation on quality standards coming into force in under a year, the introduction of automatic transfers and the end of contracting out for DB schemes, it is vitally important all schemes work closely with their administrators to really get to grips with their data and avoid problems and high costs further down the line,” he said.
The record-keeping survey showed that large schemes performed better, with only 9% of such schemes not having measured their common data, compared with 44% of small schemes.
Large schemes were also more likely to have measured their conditional data – extra, more detailed information such as the employing company, date of leaving, lifestyle, DC transactions and investment splits.
While 71% of small schemes did not measure conditional data, 40% of large schemes did.