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The Pensions Regulator releases draft guidance on its approach to prosecuting new criminal offences

The Pensions Regulator has published for consultation draft policy guidance outlining its approach to investigating and prosecuting the new criminal offences provided for in the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

The draft guidance provides some clarity as to how the Pensions Regulator proposes to interpret its new powers under the Act and also provides practical examples of actions which would, in the Pensions Regulator’s view, contravene these new provisions.

The draft Guidance also includes useful insight on the circumstances which the Pensions Regulator would consider as amounting to a “reasonable excuse” for the purposes of the defences available against the two core criminal offences of avoiding pension debts and conduct risking scheme benefits.    

As discussed in our previous post, while the Act has now received royal assent, the new powers under the Act are not yet in force and are only expected to come into force in Autumn 2021 following the finalisation and issuance of formal guidance from the Pensions Regulator.

The consultation has a closing date for submissions of 22 April 2021.