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Altmann in line for Tory pensions review role

Altmann in line for Tory pensions review role

The prime minister has promised older worker’s champion Ros Altmann a peerage and posting as minister responsible for financial consumer protection and financial education, should the Conservatives be elected next month.

According to a statement, she will be asked to carry out a major review of financial fairness for consumers, including: charge caps for pension products to protect savers from excessive fees; improved rights for older consumers, especially in the mortgage market; promoting competition and innovation for all savers, and developing Pension Wise to offer financial education and guidance to working people at every stage of their lives.

Ms Altmann said that until now her work has focused on policy rather than politics, but she was looking forward to potentially being more directly involved.

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“For too many years, consumer rights have played second fiddle to the interests of large financial firms, but the new pension freedoms show that the Conservatives have put the interests of British savers first and that is a real game-changer.”

She added that the at-retirement reforms will require a change of mindset from providers and potentially further action from government to protect consumers.

“Charge caps, impartial financial guidance, help with financial planning, financial education at all ages, and more competition for savers’ money will all help and it will be great to have the opportunity to play a direct role in looking after the public.”

Conservative leader David Cameron added that her new role would be to make sure “we complete this great revolution” in order “to create a real savings culture in our country for everybody”.

Last July, Ms Altmann was appointed as the coalition’s business champion for older workers, with the brief to drive to support over-50s in the UK labour market. Prior to that she was named as Saga’s director general in 2010, after a career spent in various pensions policy and economics roles.

peter.walker@ft.com