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Pensions regulator targets recruitment in auto-enrolment probe

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has visited a number of recruitment agencies as part of an in-depth look at sectors that could face auto-enrolment compliance issues.

The regulator hopes the visits will encourage employers to comply with their statutory duties and establish a pro-compliance culture.

TPR said it started with the recruitment sector because it faces "significant compliance challenges" as more than 1,000 recruitment firms are expected to reach their staging dates between April and July next year.

The regulator said the visits were made to "prevent and tackle possible breaches, ensure compliance, learn lessons and share good practice among the industry". After the inspections, TPR will be issuing compliance guidance for the sector.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell pensions partner Nigel Bolton said: "We welcome the proactive stance that the regulator is taking here and believe it is vital they listen to the concerns and issues that businesses are having with auto-enrolment."

TPR has recommended that employers should have pension providers and advisers in place at least six months before their auto-enrolment staging date.

Bolton said he supports this buts fears there a lot of companies who haven't taken this step yet.

Recruitment and employment confederation (REC) head of policy Kate Shoesmith said: "Recruiters want to be compliant and REC is pleased the TPR recognises the additional barriers that recruiters face and is working with the industry to address these issues.

"The process does not lend itself easily to an atypical workforce and recruiters have had to work hard to ensure that their businesses are ready for automatic enrolment."