The pensions regulator saw a fourfold increase over the past year in punitive measures having to be ...
The pensions regulator saw a fourfold increase over the past year in punitive measures having to be implemented against occupational pension schemes for a range of offenses.
Opra, in its sixth annual report, recorded financial penalties totalling £632,000 for a range of offenses compared to last year's figure of £158,000 and the £66,200 imposed in 1999-2000.
The amount of new cases dealt with by Opra involving breaches of audit requirements was down 8% on last year and stood at 1,571 cases. Fines totalling £267,960 were imposed upon 590 trustees for this failure. New cases involving breaches of the minimum funding requirement were 39% down on last year and stood at 451 cases with fines totalling £11,250 imposed
Eleven trustees were disqualified by Opra from acting as pension scheme trustees. An Opra spokesman said the most common reason for trustees being disqualified was lack of skill on the trustee's part.
The number of pension schemes being opened fell in 2001-2002 as Opra appointed trustees to only 509 pension schemes ' down on the previous year's figure of 613.
Opra also appointed independent trustees to pension schemes worth over £45m. This occurs in cases where an employer goes into liquidation and there are no longer trustees overseeing the pension fund.
The Pensions Schemes' Registry conducted over 168,000 pension traces including 25,000 on behalf of the public and 143,000 for the FSA review of personal pensions mis-selling.
The Opra helpdesk received over 40,700 enquiries during the year, Opra received over 250,000 reports relating to its new responsibilities for personal pensions and visitor numbers to the Opra website increased from around 74,000 to 460,000.
Copies of the annual report are available free from the Opra helpdesk on 01273 627 000.
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