7 days

7 Days is a weekly round up of developments in pensions, normally published on Monday afternoons. We collate this information from key industry sources, such as the DWP, HMRC and TPR.

In this 7 Days

DWP publishes workplace pension participation and saving trends analysis

The DWP has published its annual analysis of statistics on workplace pension participation and savings trends. The statistics include detailed breakdowns of two key measures for evaluating the progress of the implementation of auto-enrolment amongst those eligible for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension: increases in the number of those saving, and increases in the amounts being saved.

This, the DWP’s fifth such report, covers the period from April 2007 to April 2017. The report shows that 84% of eligible employees were participating in a workplace pension in 2017, up from 77% in 2016. Public sector pension participation remains high at 92%.

Financial Reporting Council independent review: call for evidence

On 6 June 2018, BEIS published a Call for Evidence in relation to the Independent Review of the Financial Reporting Council. The review is to examine the FRC’s purpose (which includes responsibility for the UK Corporate Governance Code and Stewardship Code), its effectiveness, and its role in reducing the risk of major corporate failure.

The Call for Evidence closes on 6 August 2018.

Corporate governance reform: pay ratio reporting for listed companies

The Government intends to introduce new legislation, under which UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees will have to disclose and explain pay differences between chief executives and their staff on a yearly basis.

In addition to the reporting of pay ratios, the news laws will also:

  • require all large companies to report on how their directors take employee and other stakeholder interests into account
  • require large private companies to report on their responsible business arrangements
  • require listed companies to show what effect an increase in share prices will have on executive pay, to inform shareholders when voting on long-term incentive plans.

The Government first announced the package of corporate governance reforms in August 2017. These latest changes follow measures to publicly register (via the Investment Association) FTSE-listed companies where more than one fifth of shareholders have opposed resolutions on executive pay packages, directors’ re-appointments and other issues.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the regulations are expected to come into effect from 1 January 2019, with the first reports due in 2020.

TPR prosecutes recruitment firm bosses

On 7 June 2018, TPR confirmed that it had successfully prosecuted senior staff at a national recruitment agency who impersonated temporary workers in order to opt them out of their workplace pension scheme.

Workchain Ltd owners and directors encouraged senior staff to opt workers out of the NEST pension scheme using its online system.

A joint investigation involving TPR, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Constabulary, was launched after NEST reported concerns to TPR in May 2014.

TPR prosecuted Workchain, two directors and five senior staff for an offence of unauthorised access to computer data, contrary to section 1(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. This is the first time that TPR has launched prosecutions for this offence.

All defendants pleaded guilty, and will be sentenced on 28 June 2018.

The Queen on the application of Palestine Solidarity Campaign v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Court of Appeal

Judgment has been handed down in the case of Palestine Solidarity Campaign v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

For further details, please see our case report.