Personal Pension  

Pensions industry welcomes its new minister, with caveats

Pensions industry welcomes its new minister, with caveats

The appointment of Ros Altmann as the new pensions minister has been almost universally welcomed by the industry, although many have already put together their wishlists for her tenure.

Prime minister David Cameron took until the end of the day to confirm the position, but ended up selecting the newest member of the House of Lords to replace Steve Webb.

Here are some initial thoughts from the pensions industry:

Tony Stenning, chairman of The Savings and Investments Policy project and head of UK retail at BlackRock

Tisa welcomed the appointment, but also urged the government to consider extending the brief to that of a dedicated savings minister.

“The individual would be accountable for promoting and championing all forms of consumer saving within government – an essential role if we are to overcome the current culture of consumption fuelled predominantly by debt.

“Saving, benefits everyone, ensuring growth, stability and prosperity for the future of the UK and its people. A failure to narrow the savings gap could adversely affect the UK’s GDP, so it is of critical economic as well as social importance.”

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds

The trade body renewed its call for an independent pensions commission. “By providing impartial and independent expertise and analysis a commission would allow the minister to make policy that stands the test of time.”

Ms Segars added that pensions were a hot topic during the general election campaign and are likely to continue to be of interest in the coming parliament.

“It’s less than two months since the hard work of our industry helped ensure the biggest reforms in decades to the pensions system were implemented in what seemed record time,” commented Ms Segars. “We’ve weathered the first wave but that was just the start – there’s much more to do to make sure savers’ interests are kept safe in the wake of the flood of recent reforms.”

Adrian Walker, retirement planning manager at Old Mutual Wealth

Mr Walker hailed the work of predecessor Steve Webb, the longest serving pensions minister, adding that it “seems sensible” to appoint Ms Altmann who has been a long-time supporter of the freedom reforms.

“Having a consumer champion in the role of pensions minister will help keep retirement savings firmly on the consumer agenda.”

Nick Ayton, managing director at GenLife

The auto-enrolment specialist said that Ms Altmann’s industry experience will be essential in the coming weeks and months.

“It would be a real shame if Webb’s vision for re-shaping how people save for later life was lost and pensions become nothing more than a political football, with lots of chopping and changing of policies to entice voters.

“Ros will have her work cut out to ensure the pensions revolution that Steve Webb begun does not hit the buffers and that consumers are protected from high charges from legacy providers”.