Personal Pension  

Trade bodies renew call for independent pension commission

Trade bodies renew call for independent pension commission

A trio of trade bodies have renewed calls for an independent retirement savings commission, revealing in a new report published today (30 April) that a vast majority of survey respondents agreeing that an impartial committee is needed.

In the report, the National Association of Pension funds, the Association of British Insurers and the Trade Union Congress come together to make the case for a standing independent retirement savings commission.

Its research, among 1,015 adult respondents, found that just 29 per cent think recent pensions policy changes have made them more confident about the future of their pension savings and 56 per cent of people feel more uncertain about what the future holds for their retirement.

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The report said this is why one of the first actions of the new government must be to establish an independent retirement savings commission. Its job would entail creating the long-term view of the retirement savings system, build consensusand hold the government to account for delivery.

“It is not about taking decisions away from politicians. Rather it is about ensuring there is some ballast to counteract short-term opportunistic decision making.”

Steve Webb, incumbent pensions minister, has said he believes that a single regulator will be needed in the future, as opposed to the current system where the Financial Conduct Authority regulates personal pension and the Pensions Regulator regulates workplace pensions.

The Napf report added that the commission would undertake “detailed research” and analysis of evidence, and would consider pension savings as well as the wider issues facing retirement including health, housing and living standards.

The commission would consist of a “small group” of select commissioners, whose knowledge and expertise would enable them to represent the interests of savers, employers, the industry and the wider economy.

It would report to government and parliament on an annual basis, providing an assessment of the UK pensions and retirement landscape, making recommendations for appropriate changes where necessary, the report added.

According to the research, 84 per cent of people agree the commission should be set up, with 85 per cent stating it should be politically neutral and should be impartial in its recommendations to government.

This echoes calls by the International Longevity Centre-UK, in which Ben Franklin, senior research fellow, said a new pensions commission was urgently needed in order to look at the problem of retirement income adequacy in a ‘holistic’ way.

Joanne Segars, Napf chief executive, said: “Today’s report shows the breadth and depth of support that exists for creating an independent retirement savings commission.

“A new standing commission will help make sure the long-term interests of savers, not the short-term interests of politicians, are at the heart of pensions policy.”

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com