Regulator plays down pension fines

Last week, reported total fines could total as high as Pounds 11.5bn based on data from the Association of British Insurers, with as many as 200,000 of required companies not yet registered with a stakeholder pensions provider.

But Opra communications manager Nick Edmans told the maximum fine any organisation had so far received was Pounds 28,000 administered to a county council for ‘multiple pensions violations’.

Edmans said Opra would not administer a fine on a company that ‘would do major damage to its business’ and said most fines had been in the order of Pounds 20 to Pounds 50.

Despite the 8 October deadline having already passed Edmans said there was still time for companies to sign up.

But he warned: ‘We will not be knocking on doors, but if we catch up with someone in say nine months time and they have not registered the case will be a lot worse.’

Edmans said the process of registration was very simple. Upon consultation and agreement with staff, a business owner could meet his obligation by posting the name and phone number of a stakeholder pension provider on a staff notice board or by sending an email.

Figures provided by the ABI show the number of companies registered with a provider stands at 146,000, but Opra said the exact number might never be known as there was no legal obligation for companies to inform the provider that it had registered with them.

A spokesman for the ABI said ‘key’ figures for September would be known in ‘a few weeks’.


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