Pensions Minister Guy Opperman has outlined how the government's white paper on defined benefit (DB) pensions is designed to improve protection for scheme members. Writing for Money Marketing, he said "a small number of high profile cases" of schemes being underfunded "have undermined the public's confidence in the system".
He noted the planned legislation included a new offence of reckless behaviour in relation to a pension scheme, which will criminalise those who take risks that endanger a scheme. There will also be enhanced vetting of company directors and an obligation on employers to consider the impact on pension schemes of corporate transactions. Mr Opperman concluded, "These new standards will help the pensions industry to become more efficient and transparent, and, as a result, will further build up the public’s trust."
However, the lack of speed at which the new legislation is being introduced has prompted some criticism. In response, the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee is launching an inquiry into the DB white paper amid concerns that the parliamentary process will not start until next year. It also wants to look closely at the details of the new legislation.