FIN.

Court upholds fines imposed by Pensions Regulator on master trusts

Appeals by two master trusts against fines imposed by the Pensions Regulator (tPR) for making incomplete annual chair statements have failed.

Occupational schemes providing money purchase benefits have to prepare an annual statement, confirming how the scheme meets certain governance standards. and This must be signed by the chair of the trustees, within seven months of the end of each scheme year. Higher standards apply to professional trustees.

In the first case, tPR fined EC2 Master Limited, trustee of Autoenrolment.co.uk, £2,000 after finding its chair’s statement non-compliant in five areas. The fine was upheld by the First-Tier Tribunal on appeal. In the second case, tPR fined the trustees of Moore Stephens Master Trust £2,000 after finding its chair’s statement to be non-compliant in three areas. On appeal, the First-Tier Tribunal decided that the chair’s statement had been non-compliant in only one of the three areas and reduced the fine to £500 (the statutory minimum).

In both cases the judges agreed that, when chair’s annual statements are not compliant with the law, penalties are mandatory.

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Gavin Ellison