The pensions watchdog has ordered companies to be more open if they believe there could be problems meeting pension promises made to staff.
The Pensions Regulator also warned that employers could be forced to top up schemes if there was any danger of employees losing out.
The regulator, set up this year to police occupational pension schemes, said companies would have to give it early notice of problems that could eventually lead to staff suffering. Pension scheme trustees will also be covered by the new rules on “notifiable events”.
The regulator has published a list of 11 such events that could jeopardise pensions of employees in final salary pension schemes. In each case, employers must notify the regulator “as soon as is practically possible”, if such an event occurs.
The regulator must also be informed if company officials are convicted of dishonesty offences.
In addition, pension schemes will have to notify the regulator if they increase benefits or make unusually large payments out of the scheme, unless employers have provided additional funding to cover such expenses.