Opra is to review its guidelines on statutory whistle-blowing in an attempt to reduce the number of...
Opra is to review its guidelines on statutory whistle-blowing in an attempt to reduce the number of minor misdemeanours reported. This, it hopes, will allow it to focus more closely on issues key to the protection of scheme members' interests.
The new guidance, to be issued after the forthcoming Green Paper, will set out to whistleblowers ' the auditors and actuaries appointed by the trustees of occupational pension schemes ' the matters they must report and those that Opra does not expect to be reported.
This should, the regulator said, significantly reduce the high number of reports on minor breaches it currently receives, and enable it to increase its focus on more serious breaches that can have a significant detrimental impact on members' benefits. Opra said it would prefer to concentrate on breaches that carry a criminal penalty.
This includes dishonest behaviour mis-use of assets or contributions and poor standards of stewardship by the trustees. Tony Hobman, chief executive of Opra, said: 'In its first five years Opra has seen an increase in the levels of compliance by those running pension schemes. Much of this has been achieved through wide-ranging whistleblowing requirements. However, given Opra's success in raising levels of compliance the time is right to move on and focus resources on the more serious breaches.
'We believe that this new approach is now appropriate and will not prejudice members' benefits. It is also consistent with the views of many statutory whistleblowers who wish to be allowed to use their professional judgement more extensively.'
Until further notice, Opra expects scheme auditors and actuaries to continue to follow their current professional guidance, and notes issued by Opra. The regulator will fully consult on the changes with the auditors' and actuaries' professional bodies before issuing revised guidance, including any interim changes to Opra's guidance note, ON1.
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