Pension regulators should work together on DC plans

The pensions industry has called for more joined-up working between the different regulators after three separate reports on defined contribution (DC) pension plans were published last month.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) published a consultation on trust-based DC schemes, as well as an analysis of the work it will carry out with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on work-based personal pension rules and guidance. Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading published a DC market study.

TPR’s consultation is on a regulatory framework that will ensure employees in trust-based DC schemes receive the best return on their savings. The report includes six principles and 31 quality features that trustees should follow.

TPR’s analysis on the FSA rules looked at how closely aligned the rules are to TPR’s quality features.

The documents were welcomed by industry, but there are concerns about a lack of joined-up working between TPR and the FSA over DC pension schemes.

Richard Wilson, senior policy adviser at the National Association of Pension Funds, said: “The regulator is saying pension schemes should be trying to focus on the right areas to improve outcomes for scheme members.

“We are just concerned that the strategy as a whole will not have the impact needed because it is not joined up enough with the FSA and it is unclear how much enforcement will be behind it.”

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Jim Doran, DC consulting leader, Scotland and Northern Ireland at Mercer, said: “Unless the new framework also applies to contract-based arrangements, the proposals are likely to accentuate the two-tier trust versus contract system for workplace DC schemes that exists already.”