March 19, 2018 / 12:24 PM / a year ago

Britain plans greater powers for pensions watchdog

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s pensions regulator will be able to impose “punitive fines” on companies who put their pension schemes at risk, the UK government said on Monday.

The government will also make it a criminal offence to commit “wilful and grossly reckless behaviour in relation to a pension scheme”, it said in a so-called White Paper outlining government proposals for changes to the supervision of defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes.

Britain’s 2 trillion pounds ($2.80 trillion) in private sector defined benefit pension liabilities have come under the spotlight after the high-profile collapses of retailer BHS and, more recently, construction firm Carillion, both of which had large pension deficits. ($1 = 0.7133 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Noor Zainab Hussain; editing by Simon Jessop)

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