Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, has suggested Brexit could free the UK’s watchdogs to shake-up pension statement rules
At the Association of British Insurers Long Term Savings conference in London today (4 July) Ms Titcomb said historically the view of the City watchdog had been providers handing out lots of information “was a good thing”.
Speaking to a packed conference room at the ABI’s offices, Ms Titcomb said the view of regulators that providers should bombard savers with information “is changing.”
Ms Titcomb said: “(UK) regulators are starting to be open to shorter, more engaging information but at the moment the European Union is still pushing for greater disclosure.”
Alluding to the UK exiting the European Union and the nation no longer being bound by regulation from Brussels, Ms Titcomb said: “That problem may solve itself in the next two years.”
Her comments came after Andy Briggs, chief executive for UK insurance at Aviva and chairman of the ABI, said the trade body was pushing for new regulation that allowed providers to ditch lengthy pension statements.
Kicking off today’s ABI conference, Mr Briggs said the trade body had put forward three objectives that providers’ communications about pensions should meet so they can make better financial decisions.
Mr Briggs said firstly providers needed to simplify the message and language commonly used in pension statements, secondly the rules need to allow communication to be simple, digital and personalised, and thirdly language needed to be consistent.
He said: “Visuals and tangible demonstrations cut through most successfully. That might seem obvious but today the vast majority of all our communications with customers on pensions are still long, standard paper-based statements.
“We need to change the outcome here and change it rapidly so far more consumers are getting statements they can relate to. That has never been more important.
“With auto-enrolment we have got twice as many pension savers as we had prior to auto-enrolment. With pension freedoms they are going to have more choice over what to do. Coupled that with the fact savers are living longer and have fewer defined benefit pensions it is really critical we get communications right.”