Section 72: Provision of information
248.This section allows the Regulator to issue a notice requiring trustees, scheme managers, professional advisers, employers or any other person who appears to the Regulator to hold, or to be likely to hold, relevant information to produce a document or provide specified information to the Regulator. The information or document requested must be relevant to the exercise of the Regulator’s functions.
249.The information requested in the notice must be provided in such manner and by the time stated by the Regulator in the notice. Failure to do so is an offence under section 77.
Section 73: Inspection of premises
250.This section provides that an inspector (a person appointed by the Regulator) may enter premises which are liable to inspection, to investigate whether specified provisions (see subsection (2)) are being complied with. Premises are liable to inspection if the inspector has reasonable grounds to suspect that members of the scheme are employed there, documents relevant to the administration of the scheme are being kept there, or the administration of the scheme, or work connected with the administration of the scheme, is being carried out there.
Section 74: Inspection of premises in respect of employers’ obligations
251.This section provides that an inspector may enter premises liable to inspection, at any reasonable time, for the purpose of investigating whether an employer is complying with specified requirements (see subsection (1)). Premises can be inspected if the inspector believes employees are employed there; documents relevant to the administration of the employer’s business, the direct payment arrangements, or the scheme to which those payments relate are being kept there; or, either of the following is being carried out on the premises:
the administration of the employer’s business, the arrangements or the scheme;
work connected with administration of the employer’s business, the arrangement or the scheme.
Section 75: Inspection of premises: powers of inspectors
252.This section outlines the powers of the inspectors when inspecting premises. When an inspector enters premises which are liable to inspection he may:
make such examination and inquiry as may be necessary;
take possession of any document appearing to be relevant to the matter to which the inspection relates, or take any steps which appear necessary for preserving the document or preventing interference with it;
take copies of any such document;
require any person on the premises to produce, or secure the production of, any relevant document for inspection; and
examine, or require to be examined, either alone or in the presence of another person, any person on the premises whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be able to give information relevant to that matter.
Section 76: Inspection of premises: supplementary
253.This section provides additional provisions in respect of sections 73, 74 and 75. Subsection (1) provides that premises which are a private dwelling-house not used by, or by permission of, the occupier for the purposes of a trade or business are not liable to inspection. An inspector applying for admission to any premises for the purposes of this section must produce his certificate of appointment if required to do so. An inspector may when conducting inspections be accompanied by such persons as he considers appropriate. Subsections (6) and (7) provide that any document taken can be retained if it is going to be used in proceedings against an individual until the end of the proceedings, or for a period of 12 months. This 12 month period can be extended by another 12 months if the Regulator feels it necessary.
Section 77: Penalties relating to sections 72 to 75
254.This section outlines the penalties where an individual fails to comply with the powers contained in these sections.
255.When an individual without a reasonable excuse:
does not comply with a request to provide information when required under section 72 they will be guilty of an offence which can lead to a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale (subsection (2));
intentionally delays or obstructs an inspector; neglects or refuses to produce a document or answer a question under sections 73 to 75 they will be guilty of an offence which can lead to a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale. (subsection (3)).
256.Subsection (4) provides that where an individual has been convicted for refusing to provide information or a document or failing to answer a question but has still failed to provide the information or document or answer the question he can be charged again.
257.Subsection (5) provides that if an individual intentionally alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys a document that they have been asked to produce then they are guilty of an offence which can lead, on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, and, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment, a fine or both (subsection (6)).
Section 78: Warrants
258.This section sets out the conditions in which a justice of the peace (sheriff in Scotland) can issue a warrant. A justice of the peace can issue a warrant if satisfied by information given on oath by, or on behalf of, the Regulator that there are reasonable grounds for believing:
there are documents which have been requested under section 72 or section 75, which have not been provided or if the documents were requested, they would either not be produced, would be removed from the premises, hidden, tampered with or destroyed; or
that a person has committed an offence or misused the assets of an occupational pension scheme or is liable to civil penalties under section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 (civil penalties) or to be prohibited from being a trustee of an occupational scheme and that there are documents relating to that matter whose production could be required under section 72 or 75.
259.An inspector with a warrant can take or copy these documents or require named individuals to state where these documents can be found. When executing a warrant a named inspector can be accompanied by anyone he feels necessary. A warrant has a time span of one month from when it was issued.
260.Subsections (8) and (9) provide that any document taken can be retained if it is going to be used in proceedings against an individual until the end of the proceedings, or for a period of 12 months. This 12 month period can be extended by another 12 months if the Regulator feels it necessary.
Section 79: Sections 72 to 78: interpretation
261.This section defines for sections 72 to 78 “document” and “inspector”.