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The Pension Schemes Act 2021 has introduced two new criminal offences - the offence of avoidance of employer debt, and the offence of conduct risking accrued scheme benefits. Both came into force at the start of this month.
A policy on how the TPR will use its new criminal powers has just been published, following a six-week consultation. It includes a detailed case study illustrating how the regulator expects to consider use of these powers, as well as identifying some common scenarios where it would not usually expect to consider use of these criminal powers.
David Fairs, the regulator's executive director of regulatory policy, said:
"These new powers will give us more options to punish wrong-doers, but we hope their existence will be a deterrent in themselves.
"We made clear in our consultation that we would not use these powers in a way that targets ordinary commercial activity, but only for the most serious examples of intentional or reckless conduct.
"We listened carefully to the feedback received and throughout the policy document, the examples and case study it now includes, we have strived to provide greater clarity to our regulated community.
"We remain a clear, quick and tough risk-based regulator ready to act to protect savers if necessary."
TPR has also published a new consultation that contains three draft policies which explain its approach to:
Erica Carroll, TPR's Director of Enforcement, said:
"As well as our criminal powers, the Pension Schemes Act 2021 gives us a package of other measures that allows us to better investigate areas of concern and deter and punish wrongdoing - all part of our role to protect savers.
"Our consultation on our criminal powers policy allowed us to listen to the industry and make changes. I therefore encourage industry to engage in our second consultation on our three further policies so we can have a rich and diverse set of views."
The new consultation will close on December 22, and TPR plans to finalise the policies early in the new year.