Following the British Steel and Carillion pension scandals, the Pensions Regulator has said it will now take a tougher stance with pension schemes of failed companies.
Pensions Regulator report
In its annual report, the regulatory body revealed it has seen a 25 percent increase in enforcement cases. As The Pensions Regulator is legally obliged to maintain an up-to-date register, they have issued fines to companies not complying. Additionally, it has successfully prosecuted 11 companies for failure to comply with providing information.
The annual report follows a recent joint report between the Treasury and the Business, Energy & Industry Strategy select committee into the collapse of Carillion.
Construction services company Carillion went into liquidation earlier this year. The huge company operated 13 defined benefit schemes for its employees. As a result, more than £2.6bn and 27,000 pension pots were put at risk.
A year before the liquidation, the company received three profit warnings that put the pension pots in jeopardy. However, the regulator did not intervene at this point to ensure financial security for scheme members.
The Pensions Regulator was described as “feeble” in the report. This was due to their lack of response to underfunding and for agreeing to all of the company’s terms.
The Pensions Regulator recently took action over the British Steel scandal. Members of the scheme were forced to transfer out of the company pension scheme and were offered limited guidance.
Many members of the scheme were offered unsuitable advice by advisers. Some invested in a self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) that put their financial future at risk.
After making their investment decisions, many members who chose to invest in Sipps have now found that the advice they received has left them worse off, with some having lost as much as £200,000.
While the Pensions Regulator came to a £500m settlement for members, the overall pension pot was worth £15 billion.
Your pension pot
The Pensions Regulator exists to ensure your financial future is secure. By assessing auto-enrolment and defined benefit schemes, your pension pot will be kept safe. As a result, it will allow a wider range of options later in life.
Due to increased pension freedoms, many people choose to unlock their retirement fund early, or transfer into other types of pensions including Sipps. This allows them the chance to increase their pension pot but comes with many risks. You can read more on investing into a Sipp and what to do if you’ve lost money because of a Sipp investment here.
If you have made a pension investment that has lost you money, get in touch. Our team of experts can provide you with support and advice on the next steps to take to seek compensation.