The trustees of 43 percent of small pension schemes have considered winding up, according to a report from The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
TPR said smaller schemes are more likely to meet the required standards than schemes of the same size that have not considered winding up.
David Fairs, executive director for regulatory policy, analysis and advice at TPR, said: “The statistics clearly show that those trustees which are running small schemes to a comparatively higher standard are trying to do the right thing for their savers by winding up. They recognise that savers will generally get better value in a larger, better-run scheme which can benefit from economies of scale.
“The most disengaged trustees are blissfully unaware that they are failing savers by not running their schemes properly.”
The annual defined contribution (DC) survey report, published by TPR last week, revealed that larger pension schemes, such as authorised master trusts, are more likely to be run well and provide good value for members.
Almost three quarters of savers (71 percent) are in pension schemes which are meeting all of the expected governance standards, an increase from 54 percent of savers in 2018 and 32 percent in 2017. TPR said that, generally, the extent to which schemes meet governance standards increases with scheme size.
The report found that most smaller schemes fail to meet standards of governance and trusteeship: Four percent of micro schemes (which have between two and 11 members) and one percent of small schemes (which have between 12 and 99 members) met all of the governance standards.
Fairs said: “These figures clearly show that people saving for their retirement are generally far better served by big schemes than small.
“This long tail of smaller schemes which do not meet the standards we expect is simply unacceptable.
“This research highlights why our current future of trusteeship and governance consultation is so important. We need to reduce the number of poorly run schemes so that no saver’s retirement is put at risk by bad scheme governance.
“All trustees – of pension schemes big and small – should be taking their role tremendously seriously and ensuring that they are running their scheme properly so savers get a good retirement.”