A briefing note from Mason Hayes & Curran (MH&C) LLP points out that the Pension Authority is directing the resources of its regulatory practices in a “hierarchy of risk priorities”.
The priorities rank in the following order:
1. Misappropriation of pension assets or contributions,
2. Lack of governance or maladministration impacting on benefits,
3. Defined benefit (DB) scheme solvency,
4. Failure to provide prescribed information to members,
5. Failure by regulated entities to submit accurate and timely data to the Authority.
The Authority’s annual report confirms nine completed prosecutions in 2019.
MH&C LLP notes that non-compliance is treated very seriously by the Authority.
In 2019, the Authority commenced 55 new investigations of alleged breaches of the Pensions Act 1990.
The alleged breaches ranged from issues surrounding the non-remittance of pension contributions, to failures to reply to statutory requests for information.
During 2019, 63 investigations were closed by the Authority and 17 reports of non-compliance were advanced to prosecution or sanction.
At the end of 2019, there were 597 DB schemes subject to the funding standard. Of these, 503 met the funding standard.
Only seven of the remaining schemes did not have a funding proposal in place or are in the process of submitting a funding proposal.