RegulationMay 1 2013

Cautious backing for committee’s proposals

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ByKevin White

In the report by the work and pensions committee, chairman Dame Anne Begg MP called for the government to make charging more transparent, restore trust in defined contribution schemes and tidy up the regulatory relationship between the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator.

The report also called for a reassessment of the case for establishing one body with sole responsibility for the regulation of workplace pensions.

Adviser view

David Brooks, pension consultant for national advisory firm Broadstone Corporate Benefits, said: “It is obvious that one regulator who can be responsible for the guidance and standards for all workplace DC schemes would make things much easier for us all. However are we too far down the rabbit hole to take the best from The Pensions Regulator and the FCA for a new DC pensions regulator?”

Consultant view

Raj Mody, head of pensions advisory practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “Any moves to make charging more fair, simple and transparent should be embraced by the industry and will give people a better chance of accurately planning for their retirement. Higher charges simply mean higher contributions for individuals who are already facing an uphill struggle to save for their retirements.”

Provider views

Jamie Jenkins, head of workplace strategy for Standard Life, said: “Effective regulation is a key element and the customer needs to be at the heart of that. Any review that harmonises the regulatory differences between trust and contract-based pensions is welcome.”

Steven Cameron, strategy director for Aegon UK, said: “The pensions minister has a personal interest in making sure that auto-enrolment is a success, and this means having a legislative and regulatory approach that supports a viable and competitive pension market.”

Industry view

Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Good pension scheme governance is crucial, but The Pensions Regulator’s own analysis shows standards of governance are equally rigorous across both trust and contract-based schemes.

“Total charges are at historic lows for active and deferred members alike, and falling. There is no justification for the government to step in and redesign pension scheme charging regimes.”

However he added it was “right” to highlight concerns about an automatic transfer system for small pots without using a virtual aggregator.