Pensions 

New pensions minister is named

New pensions minister is named

Guy Opperman MP has been appointed as parliamentary under-secretary of state for pensions and financial inclusion.

The Department for Work & Pensions confirmed Mr Opperman will take over from Richard Harrington MP, who after little more than a year in the role moves to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “The last thing pensions needs is a return to a revolving door policy for pensions minsters.

"Sir Steve Webb broke the mould with a five-year tenure, allowing him to get to grips with the brief and deliver policies, specifically auto-enrolment.

"Amidst all the uncertainty, pensions need a period of stability to give savers confidence in the pension system. Hopefully Opperman will retain his role long enough to bring stability while making a difference."

While the general election focus was on state pensions, Ms Smith said there are many other pensions topics that need addressing.

She said the new pensions minister will need to get up to speed quickly, with the number one priority being the review of auto-enrolment which is due to report by the end of the year.

Other priorities will be to address the growing number of pension scams, preparing the new master trust regulations, looking at how defined benefit schemes can be made more sustainable and new powers for The Pensions Regulator to protect members of defined benefit pensions from unscrupulous employers or company failings.

Ms Smith said she expected there to be a new Pensions Bill in the Queen’s Speech, so Mr Opperman will need to hit the ground running.

Mr Opperman served as a government whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) from 17 July 2016 to 14 June 2017.

He was elected Conservative MP for Hexham in May 2010.

He previously served as private parliamentary secretary to Mark Harper, the then immigration minister.

He served as an assistant government Whip from May 2015 until July 2016.

Mr Opperman was called to the Bar in 1989. He spent 20 years as a barrister and was also director of his family’s engineering business until 2009.

He was educated at Harrow School, he went on to read law at the University of Birmingham. He also gained a first class diploma from the University of Lille.

stephanie.hawthorne@ft.com

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