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Regulatory action

The key regulator in relation to occupational pension schemes is, of course, the Pensions Regulator – but trustees and sponsors also need to be aware of potential issues in other regulatory spheres. Here we discuss some of the more prominent examples.


To read more about some of the Pensions Regulator’s powers, see our guide The Pensions Regulator’s powers and how they are exercised.​


The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator is responsible for regulating trust-based occupational pension schemes, and has recently been granted new powers to regulate master trusts. It also has some powers in relation to certain types of personal pension arrangements. Some of the Regulator’s powers are far-reaching, including the power to order corporates or individuals to make payments to, or put some other support in place in relation to a scheme, the power to appoint and remove trustees and ban individuals from acting as trustees, the power to order changes to future benefit accrual to deal with a funding crisis or impose a schedule of contributions or recovery plan and ultimately the power to wind up a scheme.

In some circumstances those involved in operating or advising occupational pension schemes are required to approach the Pensions Regulator to provide information to help it carry out its regulatory responsibilities, particularly its objectives of protecting members’ benefits and reducing the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund. Click here for our guide on when you need to approach, or provide information to, the Pensions Regulator.

Read related posts from our PensionsTalk blog (under Regulatory action by TPR).

The Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for regulating information rights – this includes rights under data protection and freedom of information legislation. Both trustees and sponsors of occupational pension schemes are considered to be data controllers because they handle personal data. This means they are also subject to an obligation to keep that data secure, including identifying and mitigating cybersecurity risks. Both trustees and sponsors should be taking steps to prepare for changes to the data protection regime from 2018, as a result of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Read more about what pension schemes need to do to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation, and take action to reduce your cyber risk using our cybersecurity guide and our checklist Cyber risk: practical actions to improve data security.

Read related posts from our PensionsTalk blog (under Data Protection and Cybersecurity).

Click here for other useful materials prepared by our data protection and cybersecurity experts.


Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority regulates the financial markets and financial services firms, as well as contract-based pension schemes. Trustees and sponsors should be aware of the potential risk of inadvertently breaching financial services regulations by engaging in activities for which they are required to be authorised (for example, in relation to investment activities, and providing financial advice).

Read more about these risks and how to navigate them in our Quick guide to financial services regulatory risks for occupational pension schemes. ​​​

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