Clause 41 - Register of prohibited trustees

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 11th March 2004.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I was wondering whether the Under-Secretary or the Minister would stand up. I detect a little ministerial confusion. As we have moved on to an important new concept—the register of prohibited trustees—will the Minister or the Under-Secretary set out exactly what is envisaged with that register and how it will operate?

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

I am happy to do so. As we will discuss the issue further when we come to the next clause, I thought that the Committee would like to move on, and I was giving it the opportunity to do so.

Having discussed the register of schemes, we move to the register of all persons whom the regulator has prohibited from acting as trustees. OPRA already has a register of the trustees it has disqualified. I have a copy of it here and it is readily available on the internet. That register only includes details of trustees disqualified by OPRA, not those people automatically disqualified from serving as trustees. We think that that might mislead those using the register to check on trustees.

Those people are not automatically included because it is not possible for the regulator to know who should be included as everyone with a criminal conviction for dishonesty, everyone who is bankrupt and everyone in a voluntary arrangement is automatically disqualified. There would, of course, be human rights implications in publishing such a list, given that the majority of people on it would not be and never would have been trustees of a pension scheme.

To make clearer the distinction between prohibition and disqualification, the register will not list all automatically disqualified trustees, merely those prohibited, as detailed in clause 29. The names of the trustees and those already disqualified by OPRA will appear on the register. Further provision on the accessibility of the register is provided in clause 42.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 41 ordered to stand part of the Bill.