The Role Of The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator is actually a non-statutory public body that regulates work-related pension schemes in the United Kingdom, mainly through the Life Insurance Council. It was established by the National Insurance Fund (NIF), an agency of the Department for Work and Social Development (WSD). The main purpose of the Pensions Regulator’s work is to protect the interests of the public and help to ensure that the schemes are appropriately regulated. They do this by ensuring that the premiums provided for these schemes are based on suitable risks and rewards packages. The Regulator also ensures that the people benefiting from these schemes pay the appropriate amounts into the scheme.
The Pensions Regulator deals with a wide range of financial and other matters. One area that they will tackle is that of mis-sold pension scheme payments. This can happen if any adviser encourages a client to obtain a larger payment out of a scheme than is fit for them. In some cases, advisers may try and get a client to commit suicide. This is one of the criminal matters the Pensions Regulator pursues, though they usually only deal with this on a case by case basis.
The Pensions Regulator can also make further recommendations to the Secretary of State for Revenue on powers that employers have to exercise over their employees. These powers are usually known as ‘advisory’ powers. The Pensions Regulator will carry out investigations into how well these powers are being exercised by employers. For example, they may look into whether or not the size of some bonuses is justified and, if not, what the impact on overall income is. They may also investigate how much time an employee is spending on work related issues, such as disciplinary records and complaints. The purpose of all these investigations is to ensure that the employer uses their power correctly.
The Pensions Regulator carries out its investigation by sending questionnaires to all employers and insurance brokers. If the answers that are provided are found to be consistent with the regulations, then these are then sent back to the regulator. Formal queries are then made to companies either via mail or by telephone. Public authorities such as bus companies, train companies and ferry services are typically included among those that must provide information to the Pensions Regulator.
Once the Pensions Regulator receives the completed questionnaire from a potential employer or insurance broker, it then sends this information back to the Secretary of State. This is why it can take so long for the information to reach the regulator. Once the inquiry has been carried out, the next step is for the Pensions Regulator to investigate the information provided. The main purpose of this investigation is to determine whether the employer has taken all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations.
The Pensions Regulator does not have an overall management function. Its role is to maintain the statutory objectives of the UK pension rules and regulations. It also works in close collaboration with the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation. There are two key roles that the regulator can play. It can either adopt a supervisory function, which is responsible for ensuring compliance of the plans and regulations, or the regulator can act as a public body with the power to apply for complaints or pursue cases against a public body or employer if the latter fails to comply with its duties under the plans and regulations.