In a recent blog about workplace pension schemes, we highlighted the fact that simply putting one in place is not enough and that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) requires that it is set up to meet its rules, monitored regularly and delivers good outcomes for members.
Not following the associated rules and regulations can potentially mean hefty fines and, recently, we have seen more evidence that TPR will seek out and prosecute firms which aren’t following the rules.
According to a report on the BBC website, in the first prosecution of its kind recently, an accountant pleaded guilty to knowingly or recklessly providing false information to the TPR. Mr Shah misled TPR by saying staff at a London cafe had a pension scheme to avoid an inspection – when, in fact, it didn’t.
TPR investigated after the company missed its deadline to automatically enrol staff into a pension in October 2015. During an inspection of the business by TPR, Shah falsely declared the company had met its legal requirements. When later interviewed, he admitted he had misled officers, causing the investigation to be delayed by more than a year and denying staff pension contributions to which they were entitled. The company eventually complied in March this year and has backdated contributions.
Deliberately providing false information to TPR about automatic enrolment is an offence under the Pensions Act 2004. The case is the first time the watchdog has prosecuted a third party on behalf of an employer.
While companies are aware of automatic enrolment, complying with all the associated regulations can be a complicated and there are updates being published regularly, which need to be adhered to. Not complying can result in hefty fines – and cases like this show that TPR is quick to jump on firms – so it’s important to get it right and to keep following the rules.
This is why appointing a firm such as ours to manage a workplace pension scheme makes sense. At The Goodman Partnership, we help businesses to implement a suitable scheme, adapt their payroll process so that employees are correctly assessed and enrolled each month and communicate effectively with their employees about what will happen and what choices they have.
We provide support to our corporate clients, so they can be sure they are complying with the complex workplace pension rules regarding the assessment of employees, the deduction and payment of contributions and timely issue of mandatory communications.
Stories in the press about advisers being prosecuted by TPR are worrying – which is why we make sure our team is made up of professional, qualified and experienced people. Also, we are one of only 15 per cent of Regulated Advisory Firms in the UK to achieve Corporate Chartered Financial Planning status and the first to achieve this in Kent.
If you’d like to know more about how The Goodman Partnership can support the ongoing management of your workplace pension scheme or any other employee benefits, call Graham Rose on tel: 01892 500 600 or click here.