Auditors’ role clarified by Pensions Regulator

PENSION SCHEME trustees must not assume auditors will inform them of the quality of accuracy of their member data, according to new guidelines.

The Pensions Regulator has clarified that trustees are in charge of checking that administrators are managing the accuracy of data on pension savers.

Auditors cannot be expected to verify the data as much of it is not included in the financial statements. Trustees are expected to work more closely with auditors and scheme administrators to understand the extent of scheme data checking.

Trustees could engage the auditor to check the data under a separate engagement.

John Moffat, chairman of the ICAS pensions committee, said: “This has been a great example of the institutes working jointly and in conjunction with TPR in getting the message across that a dialogue between the auditor and the trustees at the audit planning stage can help trustees understand the extent of the testing of member data and of the controls around that data.

Zahir Fazal, chairman of the ICAEW pensions committee, said: “We were pleased to contribute to this statement, which we hope will help to reduce a fairly widespread ‘expectation gap’ among trustees as to the extent that member records are tested during the course of a scheme audit.”

Andrew Evans, pensions partner at PwC, said the clarification was “good news”.

“Pension schemes are only as good as the data they hold,” said Evans.

“Inaccurate records can result in savers missing out on benefits due, or overpayment of benefits at the expense of the pension scheme.”


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