HC Deb 05 April 1990 vol 170 cc806-7W
Mr. Butterfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many complaints his Department has received in the last five years concerning pension funds in general and pension fund re-investment in pensioners' holding companies from(a) individuals and (b) others;

(2) how many representations his Department has received in the last five years concerning pension fund re-investment; how many of the representations were critical of the present re-investment system; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will estimate how many pension schemes include (a) director trustees and (b) employee trustees;

(4) if he will estimate the total value of pension fund surpluses re-invested in the pensioners' holding company; and if he will supply the figures where the pension fund invests in (a) equity issues of the sponsoring company, (b) convertible securities issued by the sponsoring company, (c) preference stocks issued by the sponsoring company, (d) restricted classes of stock, (e) any form of loan stock issued by the company other than convertible and (f) any property occupied by the sponsoring company;

(5) if he will list in order the companies he has received most complaints about concerning (a) general practice and (b) pension fund re-investment over the last three years;

(6) what is the total number of companies that have disclosed pension fund re-investment under regulation 7 and schedule 3, paragraph 6, of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations, SI 1986, No. 1046, since November 1987; and if he will make a statement;

(7) which aspect of pension fund administration he has received most critical representations about; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott

I have been asked to reply.

Information is not held by the Department on all matters raised by my hon. Friend. Representations have been received on a range of issues related to occupational pension matters in recent years, but details of numbers are not kept.

The Occupational Pensions Board, in its report "Protecting Pensions", recommended that restrictions should be introduced on the extent of self-investment by pension schemes in their related employer. This recommendation was accepted and appropriate powers have been taken in the Social Security Bill.

There have been some representations about these proposals from employers, outlining the possible effects for their businesses and pension schemes if the scheme is required to dispose of assets held in the company too quickly. As a result we intend to mount a survey which will provide up-to-date information on the extent of self-investment and which will guide us in framing the necessary regulations.