News | September 23, 2021


Employers, trustees and others concerned with defined benefit schemes: are you ready for 1 October 2021 when the new Contribution Notice grounds and Criminal Offences apply? Do contact your usual Wedlake Bell Pensions Team adviser for training or any ad hoc questions. For background click here for our March 2021 Pensions Compass article, and see the table below for an overview of TPR’s new powers.

Acts prior to 1 October 2021 will not be caught by the new CNs and criminal offences, but pre‑1 October 2021 conduct could be evidence of intention. Also, remember the new criminal offences are not confined to employers sponsoring schemes and connected persons but also extend to “any person” such as lenders – potentially bringing many others within the theoretical net of the criminal offences.

ItemIn forceAncillary RegulationsOur comments
Additional grounds for Contribution Notices: Employer insolvency test; andEmployer resources test.1 October 2021Employer Resources RegulationsTPR’s Code of Practice including Code-related Guidance is of some help. Revised TPR Clearance Guidance is expected.
New Criminal Offences: Avoidance of employer debt; and Conduct risking accrued scheme benefits.1 October 2021 See TPR’s Policy on Prosecution, and the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
New Fixed Civil Penalties of up to £1 million1 October 2021 See the above publications.
New TPR powers re Inspection & Interview1 October 2021Information Gathering Powers Regulations, made 23 June 2021TPR is likely to use its new wide ranging powers.
New Notifiable Events (change in control in an employer, sale of material proportion of business or assets or granting or extending relevant security giving the creditor priority)1 April 2022?The Government’s 8 September 2021 Consultation on draft Regulations specifying the new Notifiable Events and the ancillary information to be provided.The employer’s duty to notify is triggered by a decision in principle to proceed, notification is to TPR and the scheme trustees, and must be given as soon as reasonably practicable.