Pensions scrutiny needs to speed up – Webb

Efforts to scrutinise pension charges and improve clarity in the industry have been positive but are moving too slowly, the pensions minister has said.

Speaking at the launch of the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) Insight report, Steve Webb, the pensions minister, said the Association of British Insurers’s (ABI’s) work on the issue, such as its recent disclosure rules on workplace pension schemes, was a good thing but “probably not moving fast enough”.

Mr Webb added that he also welcomed the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation of occupational pension schemes and their charges, saying it would provide “systematic, hard evidence” into schemes and how they are working.

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David Barral, chief executive of Aviva UK Life Insurance, defended the pensions industry, saying providers are moving towards greater transparency and fairer charges, such as moving schemes onto lower-cost models.

“The ABI is doing a ton of work on trying to move this forward,” Mr Barral said. “We are pushing this forward as much as we possibly can, but we all have to work together.”