The Pensions Regulator (TPR) used its enforcement powers for pensions auto-enrolment non-compliance 21,814 times between October and December 2018, compared to 38,095 times in Q3 of 2018, according to research by TPR.
Its Compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin: October-December 2018 report, which provides information on the powers TPR has used, as well as on the cases it has been involved in, also noted that 5,758 fixed penalty notices were issues between October and December 2018, compared to 12,551 issued between July and September 2018.
Since TPR began recording its compliance and enforcement actions in July 2012, a total of 73,833 fixed penalty notices, which are fixed £400 fines issued to employers if they do not comply with statutory notices, or if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of law, have been issued.
Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said: “More than 1.4 million employers have done the right thing for their staff, and we’re delighted so many now have the opportunity to save for later in life. But we are not complacent, and will continue to ensure employers and their advisers meet their responsibilities.
“We will not tolerate behaviour by employers or their advisers that sees pension savers short-changed by not being put into a scheme.”
The research also found that 2,689 escalating penalty notices had been issued between October and December 2018, making a total of 18,642 between July 2012 and December 2018. An escalating penalty notice is a daily fine between £50 and £10,000, depending on how many employees an organisation has, which is issued when an employer fails to comply with a statutory notice.
Between October and December 2018, 6,795 compliance notices, which target auto-enrolment non-compliance of employer duties, were issued; this compares to 14,997 compliance notices issued between July and September 2018. A total of 144,047 compliance notices have been issued between July 2012 and December 2018.
In quarter four of 2018, 6,421 unpaid contribution notices were issued; these remedy a late or non-payment due to a qualifying pension scheme. Since July 2012, 20,117 unpaid contribution notices have been issued.
The report also confirmed that TPR used its powers to take action against trustees 30 times between October and December 2018 for failing to prepare a compliant chair’s statement. TPR conducted 88 inspections and the special procedure, which allows TPR to act quickly in using its powers where there is immediate risk to members, was used three times in quarter four of 2018.
In addition, 149 trustee appointments were made to protect members’ benefits.
Nicola Parish, executive director of front-line regulation at TPR, added: “This report highlights the many wide-ranging powers and ways of working that we are using to protect savers; from helping trustees deal more robustly with employers, to taking swift court action when we suspect members’ savings are at imminent risk. Our clearer, quicker and tougher approach is having a real impact.”