The actions The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will take to ensure savers get the pension they are entitled to are outlined in its new Corporate Plan for 2023 to 2024, published today (21 April 2023). The plan sends a clear message that those that can’t comply should improve – or leave the market.
Key priorities for the year ahead include TPR’s on-going work with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop a value for money framework. This will equip those making decisions on behalf of savers with tools to enable a focus on delivering good pension outcomes, increasing transparency and driving-up standards.
The plan sets out how TPR is preparing for the launch of the new Defined Benefit (DB) Funding Code in April 2024, which will enhance the security of savers’ outcomes in DB schemes. TPR will also lay foundations for a significant increase in addressing quality outcomes in defined contribution (DC) schemes.
TPR will increase its attention on tackling scammers through the Pension Scams Action Group (PSAG). And it will continue to embrace innovation, through areas such as assessing any CDC applications for authorisation and supporting schemes to prepare for connecting to pensions dashboards.
TPR Chair Sarah Smart said: “Our latest corporate plan clearly shows how TPR will continue to deliver on our commitment to protect saver outcomes, by pushing hard for ever-higher standards of trusteeship and governance and by fighting to beat scammers.
“A key theme in the plan is that we — working with our partners — expect schemes to provide good value for money. Those that can’t, must improve or leave the market.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners and maintain a robust focus on our core activities that drive compliance with regulations.
“We have an important year ahead with much to do and I am confident that we have the right team to do it. I am delighted to welcome Nausicaa Delfas to TPR as our Chief Executive. Nausicaa shares our commitment to savers and our other priorities, including equality, inclusion and diversity, and will drive forward our agenda to put savers at the heart of what we do.”
TPR Chief Executive Nausicaa Delfas said:
“As our Corporate Plan sets out, we have a full and ambitious agenda for the benefit of millions of savers. We will continue to focus on protecting savers’ money, enhancing the pensions system and, as we look to the future, helping to drive innovation in savers’ interests.
“To deliver our plan, we will continue to build our organisational and digital capabilities, deliver value for money, and work collaboratively with our regulatory partners and stakeholders in the wider pensions environment.”
A look beyond 2023 to 2024
2023 to 2024 is the third year of TPR’s three-year planning cycle, which began with the new Corporate Strategy in 2021, but the Corporate Plan also gives an overview of TPR’s plans beyond March 2024. These include:
- A transformation in its approach to regulating DB pensions. Trustees will be expected to have a suitable long-term objective. A new twin-track approach will drive both fast track and bespoke engagements with schemes and an enhanced, data-driven approach to monitoring funding risk.
- Working with the DWP to explore options for better protecting value at decumulation for members of defined contribution schemes. This will be a broadening of TPR’s work in this field and highlights its commitment to enhancing the value for money savers receive.
- Assessing the feasibility of mandating that a professional trustee sits on each board or accrediting or authorising professional trustees. This will lay the foundations for working with the DWP to progress the most suitable approach.
- Delivering new regulatory regimes for the assessment, authorisation and supervision of new models — such as DB superfunds and multi-employer CDC schemes — so savers can have confidence in the pensions vehicles they use to save for retirement.
- Helping schemes prepare for dashboards. TPR will develop a regulatory framework that enables swift and targeted action to be taken where requirements are not met.
TPR’s total 2023 to 2024 budget of £118.9 million is an increase of £1.7 million against the 2022 to 2023 budget.