UK's TPR extends late pension contribution reporting easements until 2021

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in the UK has extended its easements for trustees and providers to report sponsoring employers’ late pension contribution payments in its updated Covid-19 guidance.

As reported by our sister title, Pensions Age, from 1 January 2021, defined contribution (DC) schemes and providers will be expected to resume reporting on delayed contribution payments no later than 90 days after the due date.

TPR had expanded the reporting window to 150 days in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which will continue until the end of the year.

It stated that the extension of the easement was decided upon to ensure that schemes have sufficient time to adjust systems and processes, and ensure that employers impacted by Covid-19 have additional time to work with their provider to bring any outstanding contributions up to date.

Reporting late contribution payments within 90 days will become mandatory by 1 April 2021.

Commenting on the guidance update, Aegon head of pensions, Kate Smith, said: "Three months’ notice as well as the three-month window allows providers to deal with late payments already in the system as well as reinstate their original processes by reporting via the portal at 90 days late.

“It’s important to stress that, as before, there has been no change to employers’ responsibilities to deduct and pass on the correct contributions to providers in line with their schedule of payments, unless they have made specific arrangements with their providers.

"As we are likely to see an uptick in the number of savers being made redundant, providers will play an important role in making sure that savers receive the full pension contributions they are entitled to.”

Additionally, TPR announced that it will resume enforcing the requirement for schemes to submit audited accounts and investment statement reviews from 1 October 2020.

It will also revert to reviewing chairs’ statements submitted on and after 1 October. Any chair’s statements TPR receives prior to this will be returned unread, although the regulator warned that this should not be taken as an indication that the statement complies with requirements.

“At the start of the pandemic, we took decisive and proportionate action to support employers and trustees through these challenging times,” commented TPR director of automatic enrolment, Mel Charles.

“With businesses and schemes adjusting to a new normal, now is the right time to return to our usual reporting and enforcement.

“We have been clear that employers continue to have to pay contributions in full and on time and schemes have continued to refer serious automatic enrolment breaches to us which may require enforcement action to ensure compliance and to protect savers.

“Our indications are the majority of employers are paying their contributions in full and on time and we have not seen any unusual increase in reports of late payments by pension schemes.”

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