UK Pensions – The Pension Schemes Act 2021: sanctions for avoiding employer debt

The Pension Schemes Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 11 February 2021. It is not yet in force but parts of it are already causing concern. The reason: it will create new criminal offences. The concerns about the new offences are because of the broad description of offending behaviour.

When the new offences become law, they will criminalise behaviour that, until now, has only provided grounds for the Pensions Regulator to issue a “contribution notice”. The criminal sanctions will include prison for up to 7 years, so it is important to understand the scope of the offences.

However, we think properly managed businesses and their directors have little to fear. This is confirmed by the Regulator’s draft policy, which sets out its proposed use of its new powers: see TPR consults on new criminal sanctions policy | The Pensions Regulator.