tPR issues warning over scheme data, or lack of!

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Following on from our earlier article on this topic, results from the Pensions Regulator’s (tPR) fifth annual record-keeping survey has unfortunately brought to light a decline in the rate at which occupational pension schemes are putting in place processes to measure their data, with figures almost identical to the previous annual survey. The proportion of schemes who are still not formally measuring conditional data continues to be high with 42% of schemes failing in 2014 in contrast to 46% in 2013.

However, there is some good news! The survey has indicated a continuing trend of better record keeping by the larger pension schemes. For example, 64% of large schemes hit tPR’s common data target in contrast to only 33% of small schemes. No doubt one contributing factor is due to the greater resources available.

Reasons highlighted by the survey for failing to measure common data include: the task being perceived as not relevant, schemes not having enough time and resources and the exercise not being seen as a priority by the scheme.

tPR is concerned about schemes’ attitude towards measuring common data, especially given the upcoming pension reforms which will involve the end of DB contracting out in 2016 together with the introduction of automatic transfers. As a result, accurate member data will be required and, therefore, there is a real need for trustees and scheme employers to work more closely with the scheme’s administrators and professional advisers to improve data compliance moving forward.

In regard to enforcement, there are currently 11 investigations being carried out by tPR. tPR has stressed that it won’t be toothless, and will take measures to improve schemes’ record-keeping standards, together with publicly reporting on the outcomes of the investigations.