The Pensions Authority monitors and supervises the operation of the Pensions Act. The responsibility for ensuring that its provisions are complied with rests with trustees.
We has been an increase in the number of random audits being carried by the Pensions Authority to ensure that these provisions are being complied with.
These random audits can take many forms and can include on-site inspections. A recent audit relating to leaving service options and the payment of member benefits required the trustees to provide the following details to the Pensions Authority:
A copy of relevant extracts from the scheme trust deed and rules and /or any other binding document which sets out benefit entitlements / calculations
A copy of the most recent member booklet
A breakdown by member and the total value of benefits paid out.
In each case the Pensions Authority also require a copy of the member’s leaving service options or retirement options letter, the member decision form and a detailed breakdown of the calculation of the benefit payable.
While the trustees will be relying on the Register Administrator of the Scheme to provide most of this information it is none the less the trustees who are in the firing line should the scheme fall short of the provisions of the Pensions Act and any sanctions or penalties follow.
These issues have put trustees on high alert and require them to get close to the day to day administration of scheme through regular meetings with the Registered Administrator and regular administration updates.