UK – The new Pensions Regulator has explained the new responsibilities of trustees and employers under the Pensions Act.

“The obligation to notify the Pensions Regulator is a duty,” said Justin Wray, the regulator’s strategy manager.

The notifiable events code, published in June, should prevent defined benefit schemes from turning for compensation to the Pension Protection Fund - another product of the Pensions Act.

According to the new rules, trustees have a duty to alert the regulator, in writing, about five scheme-related events. Two of these must be notified without exception, like payment of debts “on favourable terms” to any scheme member.

Wray explained that although the regulator must be informed such decision would be ultimately up to the trustee board.

Trustees’ decisions resulting in non-payment of debt is another event to be notified without exception.

Employers’ duty of notification extend to eight aspects, of which four are “without exception”.

These events are: decision not to pay debt to the pension scheme, to cease activity in the UK, advice of wrongful trading and conviction of a senior officer for dishonesty.

TPR requires communication to take place “ as soon as reasonably practical”.

Wray said the regulator had taken into account that the new duties will cost for both trustees and employers.

He cited the cost of “intrusiveness” especially when the information to be notified is not in the public domain but added that the notification duty over-rides confidentiality.

“The more complex the framework, the higher the compliance costs, so in drawing up the framework, we have tried to take as simple an approach as possible” he said.