The Pensions Regulator will be given greater powers to crack down on BHS-style failings

 
Oliver Gill
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The Pensions Regulator has been clamouring for more powers to look over the shoulder of corporates (Source: Getty)

The government today revealed plans to give the Pensions Regulator greater "proactive" powers to crack down on corporate pension scheme failings.

The plans were outlined in a department for work and pensions (DWP) white paper on the future of defined benefit pension schemes which aims to "ensure consumer confidence and secure the future of these schemes".

The proposals consider the need to "evolve and adapt the regulatory regime", and could allow the regulator to be "more proactive rather than reactive", in BHS-style situations where a pension black hole led to the failure of the company.

Read more: Pensions watchdog barks at big dividend payers

The plans come after the regulator signalled its intent earlier this year to more widely use the powers already has and clamp down on companies failing to correctly manage pension deficits.

In its response to the February analysis, the regulator said it wanted to "push the boundaries" of its current purview.

Work and pensions secretary David Gauke said "the vast majority" of the UK's schemes were functioning properly.

He added:

It is clear that experiences differ from scheme to scheme. With more than £1.5 trillion invested in them, people need to have confidence that they are resilient and robustly regulated.

“This white paper will set out our proposed next steps on what reform is needed to support the sector, including the powers of the regulator. Our way forward is clear and we will ensure that the system continues to balance the needs of consumers, the schemes themselves and business for the future.”

Read more: MPs tell the Pensions Regulator to up its game after BHS saga