Auto Enrolment – Registering with the Pension Regulator and keeping records
In our previous articles on Auto-Enrolment – Getting Started, the next steps and communications, we covered the initial actions, assessment process and contributions payable. In this article we will cover the requirement to register and maintain records.
Registering with the Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator was established to regulate work based pensions.
An employer must register with The Pensions Regulator within five months of the staging date (or the last day of the postponement period(s) where postponement was used at staging). In essence the registration process requires the employer to:
- confirm the correct auto enrolment procedures have been followed and
- provide various pieces of information such as the number of eligible jobholders enrolled.
An employer must keep records which will enable them to prove that they have complied with their duties. Keeping accurate records also makes good business sense because it can help an employer to:
- avoid or resolve potential disputes with workers
- help check or reconcile contributions made to the pension scheme.
Good governance, including record-keeping, has always been considered vital to the effective and efficient running of a pension scheme. The regulator has previously produced guidance on the importance of good record-keeping. Although aimed at trustees and professional advisers, employers may find it useful. For further information, visit: www.tpr.gov.uk/guidance-record-keeping.
After an employer’s staging date, they must:
- keep certain records on aspects of their compliance with the new duties
- preserve those records
- produce those records to the regulator, if requested.
By law, there are two types of records that an employer must keep. These are:
- Records about jobholders and workers
- Records about the pension scheme
These records must be kept for a minimum of six years, with exception of those relating to opt-outs, which must be kept for four years.
Employers can use their existing business documentation (e.g. payroll records) for the purpose of collecting and storing records, but should note that the notices (an opt-in notice, joining notice or opt-out notice) must be retained in the original format, as this is proof of an individual exercising a right. Copies of the original format, or electronically-stored versions, are acceptable. However, all records must be kept in such a form and manner that they are legible or can be provided to the regulator in a legible format.
Employers who outsource business or pensions administration to a third party can continue to do so. They may authorise the third party to keep, preserve or provide the records on their behalf. However, it remains an employer’s legal responsibility to ensure these records are kept and, if requested, produce them.
The regulator expects employers to have an appropriate system in place with any service provider to ensure:
- Record keeping requirements are being adhered to
- Records can be produced to the regulator (if requested) in a timely manner.
The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. Neither Essex Abel Ltd nor the author accept any responsibility whatsoever for any action taken based upon the information included in this articles.