Personal Pension 

Chancellor told to leave pensions alone

Chancellor told to leave pensions alone

Leading figures in the pensions industry have urged the chancellor to leave pensions alone.

A panel of pensions and investment experts at FTAdviser's Retirement Freedoms Forum have urged chancellor Philip Hammond to put all incoming pensions legislation on hold.

They urged the government to tackle the housing crisis and the cost of childcare instead to help people be in a position to afford to save in the first place.

Jonathan McColgan, director and chartered financial planner at Combined Financial Strategies, called for the pensions industry to be given a chance to bed down.

Mr McColgan was among four panelists at FTAdviser’s Retirement Freedoms Forum who believed the introduction of legislation such as auto-enrolment, pensions freedoms and choice, changes to the state pension and the introduction of a second hand market for annuities had left the industry gasping for air.

He said: “When the chancellor makes his Autumn Statement he needs to be leaving pensions alone.”

Other panellists at today's (4 October) packed-out event in Chepstow said too much legislation was just ‘smoke and mirrors’ for some of the UK’s biggest issues.

David Thomas, chief executive of Seneca Investment Managers, agreed.

Mr Thomas said: “The government is tinkering around the edges. Industry needs time to implement the changes imposed on it.

"The government would be better off tackling the issues that are going to stop people from saving into a pension in the future such as the lack of housing supply in the UK, which is making housing unaffordable for younger people.”

Carole Nicholls, a financial planner with Nicholls Stevens Financial Services, and James Rainbow, head of UK financial institutions and strategic accounts at Schroders, also agreed.

Ms Nicholls said: "Young people and people entering middle age are burdened with huge financial costs - including even caring for their parents. Address these issues and help them save."

Their comments came after a speech by Steve Webb, former coalition pensions minister and director of policy for Royal London.

The former Liberal Democrat MP said pensions legislation needed to remain untouched for at least five years.

Mr Webb told delegates at FTAdviser’s Retirement Freedoms Forum in Chepstow today (4 October), that he would strongly urge Mr Hammond to leave pensions alone.

He said: “I would like to see nothing for five years. It is only last May that the government said it would make no changes to the Pensions Act for the next parliament. I only hope this is the case.”