Pensions regulator softens line on contributions

THE PENSIONS REGULATOR has softened its approach to companies that cut back on contributions.

In an interview with Accountancy Age’s sister publication Professional Pensions, TPR chief executive Bill Galvin (pictured) adopted a more lenient attitude to companies finding it difficult to finance their schemes.

Galvin said: “In our April statement, [we said] we should start from the premise that you should at least maintain the contributions you are making into the scheme.

“But if an employer is struggling and may be moving towards insolvency, decreasing contributions is one way of managing that.

“If the trustees genuinely believe that is the only way for the scheme sponsor to survive, they may well agree to that.”

Galvin’s comments come after Trinity Mirror criticised TPR in August for a lack of response to the company’s plans to slash scheme payments by £70m (PP Online, 3 August).

Trinity Mirror finance director Vijay Vaghela said it was “confusing” that TPR had not responded to his letter in March because “there was a lot of speculation that TPR would be unhappy”.

Galvin also took a more relaxed approach to scheme data requirements, accepting small schemes will not make the targets.

TPR set a high standard for data quality two years ago, demanding by December 2012 schemes have 100% of common data present for all records created after June 2010. Scheme records pre-dating this need to have 95% of common data present.

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