October 26th, 2012 / Insight posted in

Pension trustees police company contributions

VA writes: I am a new trustee of a money-purchase pension scheme and am concerned the employer is not making regular contributions. My co-trustees say payments are erratic but the money is paid in the end. What is the law and what obligations do I have?

The law requires money-purchase scheme trustees to prepare a payment schedule every year. This should show what contributions are due from staff and the employer and the date on which the company will pay it to the plan. So check this schedule has been prepared. You will break the law if it has not and could be fined and banned from being a trustee. Employers break the law if they do not pay staff contributions to trustees within 19 days from the end of the month when they were deducted from pay. A trustee must check these are paid by the deadline. If not the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) should be told. The only exception is where staff contributions are received within 10 days after the 19th of the month (by the 29th) and the late payment has not happened before or there has been only one other late payment in the previous year. If staff contributions are not received within 60 days after the 19th of the following month, you must tell members. Trustees will break the law if they do not tell Opra and could be fined. Opra can also fine employers. So discuss this with the pension fund advisers. Alternatively, Opra has a helpline – 01273 627600- with further information.