Draft Regulations setting out measures to speed up and introduce greater accountability into the winding up of occupational pension schemes were yesterday issued for consultation.
Launching the consultation document the Minister for Pensions, Ian McCartney, said: "These Regulations are a significant step towards making the process of winding up pension schemes more efficient and transparent. This is good news for everyone who, through no fault of his or her own, has to go through this process.
"If, for example, your employer goes out of business you have enough day to day issues to worry about without the added burden of worrying about your pension which could be many years down the line. We want to keep the frustration and insecurity of such a period to a minimum."
The winding up of a pension scheme can be a protracted and complicated process, causing uncertainty for scheme members; this is particularly so in cases where the employer has gone out of business. Sections 47 to 50 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 provide a framework that ensures that action is taken as quickly as possible and that scheme trustees obtain the help and information they require to progress the winding up process.
The Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up Notices and Reports etc) Regulations 2001 will set out the detail which must be included in the notices and reports to be made to the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra), including the additional information to be given to scheme members. It is intended for the measures introduced in these regulations to come into force on 6 April 2002.
Copies of the draft Regulations are available from:
Private Pensions 1
Department for Work and Pensions
1-11 John Adam Street
The closing date for responses, which should be sent to the above, is 23 October 2001.