Clients of London Registrars’ business consultancy service may be interested to read the Pensions Regulator’s recent publication of a report detailing its findings from a review into pension scheme record-keeping. Seven case investigations into the matter have now been opened as the regulator seeks to improve standards of record-keeping.

The regulator has said that various types and sizes of schemes exhibited good practice, but it also expressed concern about certain areas, where both the schemes themselves and the payment of member benefits were put at risk. It cited some generally smaller schemes as having lower levels of engagement with their advisers, therefore finding it more difficult to demonstrate that record-keeping challenges had been effectively tackled.

According to Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director for defined contribution (DC), governance and administration at the regulator, “We’ve opened seven case investigations as a result of our first major review of record-keeping, involving DC and defined benefit (DB) schemes, which may ultimately lead to enforcement action.

“Trustees and administrators should really be treating the maintenance of complete and accurate data as business as usual – it underpins the running of the entire scheme and it is only with the right records that they can ensure the right benefits are being paid to the right members at the right time.”

The regulator’s DC code of practice already makes record-keeping a key element, with the regulator warning of the continued great importance of scheme data amid such developments as DB scheme contracting-out coming to an end, the reconciliation of Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) records and announcements on Government developments in relation to DC quality standards.

The aim of the review was partly to determine whether the regulator’s standards had been met with regard to the schemes’ handling of such member details common to every scheme as name, date of birth and National Insurance number. Also covered by the review were the steps being taken by schemes for the management and mitigation of errors and gaps in data, as well as how data was being managed by the schemes as part of their internal controls frameworks.

The review involved the regulator assisting trustees and advisors in their efforts to improve standards, in addition to trying to identify what additional actions may be required to mitigate record-keeping risks.