Pensions 

Less is more, industry tells new financial ministers

Less is more, industry tells new financial ministers

With a raft of fresh faces parachuted into the top jobs responsible for policymaking in financial services, FTAdviser asked the industry what it wants from the new cadre in charge of its sector.

From the chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond the key demands are steady hands, more housing, and relaxations of stamp duty

Nick Green, a broker at Alternative Estates & Financial Services, wants stability and post Brexit a firm commitment to already resident EU residents so they can remain.

The new government should also revise stamp duty changes “which have pushed the investors towards the cheaper properties, rather than put them off buying so taking up the first time buyers homes”.

An increase in residential building is another key demand. “The housing market has started to go very quiet, as the few sellers who were moving have now started to hold back.”

Jane King, mortgage adviser at Ash-Ridge Private Finance, wants the new chancellor to re-instate grants to housing associations, so they can build more homes for shared ownership/equity.

“I don’t think he can do much about mortgages themselves, as these are being dictated largely by lenders. However, if he could back off of recommending any further red tape and let the market decide their financial outcomes, I would be eternally grateful.”

Conor Murphy, director at Capricorn Financial, argued for relaxations to stamp duty if, as he has predicted, transaction volumes start to drop.

“This might mean removing stamp for first time buyers, or removing additional stamp for investors for a short period of time.”

Of the secretary of state for work and pension Damian Green, the industry has asked for an end to decisions on ‘the turn of a six-pence’ and more done to tackle pension scams.

“Our pension system is tinkered with more than any other pension system in the world, but fewer and fewer people are saving,” he said. “You’d be mad to put your savings into a system that changes every five minutes,” Steve Bee of Pensions Guru, said.

“Pensions should be boring.”

Andrew Pennie, marketing director at Intelligent Pensions, branded the role of work and pensions secretary a “poisoned chalice”, given Mr Green is the third MP to hold the position in four months. He urged him to crack down on pension scams.

“Having been a previous minister for police and justice, I would like to see Mr Green take a strong stance on pension freedom scams. Over 11 million people in the UK have been contacted, by cold call or text, by a pension freedom scam and the government must do more to crack down on these crooks,” he said.

Graham Peacock, managing director of auto-enrolment provider Salvus Master Trust, said he expected the DWP and The Pensions Regulator to continue to ramp up the regulation of auto-enrolment master trusts, a key feature of the pensions bill announced in the Queen’s Speech in May.

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