Personal Pension 

Regulators pulling in the same direction applauded

Regulators pulling in the same direction applauded

Helping generate an adequate retirement income is the "right strategy" for the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator to focus on, industry commentators have said.

Responding to the publication of the regulators' joint strategy paper, titled Regulating the pensions and retirement income sector: our joint regulatory strategy, Nigel Peaple, director of policy and research at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, welcomed the various recommendations.

The first recommendation is a strategic review of the entire consumer pensions journey - taking an in-depth look at what tools are needed to enable people to make considered decisions about their pensions. 

He said: "The strategy's clear focus on helping savers generate an adequate retirement income is the right one and accords with the PLSA's core mission. 

"We agree more needs to be done to help savers make the most of their savings and therefore support the strategy's focus on delivering value for money."

He said the PLSA would look forward to taking part in the announced review of the consumer pensions journey, which the regulators have said would focus on helping savers make well-informed decisions across their lifetimes.

Hugh Savill, director of regulation at the Association of British Insurers, said: "The FCA and The Pensions Regulator's joint pensions strategy rightly identifies the potential harms and risks in the pensions and retirement income sector, particularly that people will not have adequate income in retirement.

"Close collaboration between the regulators and across the industry is key to ensuring that consumers are protected and to improve outcomes."

Closer collaboration between the two regulators was welcomed across the board.

According to Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London and former pensions minister, it was a "good sign" to see regulators working together and "pulling in the same direction". 

He added: "All too often government and regulators investigate individual financial products or specific points in people's lives such as retirement.

"These plans are helpful because they will look at the whole of our 'pensions journey'. This should help [everyone] to see the bigger picture and produce better outcomes in the long term."

Ian Browne, pensions expert at Quilter, said while the strategy does not have substantive changes to regulation it paved the way for a joined-up approach to pension regulation in the future and the next step should be something similar for legislative changes.

He said: "The two new initiatives: the review into the customer journey and work to develop a set of standards for value for money are sensible steps.   

"The prospect of widespread pensioner poverty is a recurring nightmare for the regulators as reams of figures show a population struggling to navigate the pension landscape.

"For a number of years there has been an onslaught of pensions regulation and legislation and there is a growing sense of fatigue over continually tinkering from all sides.

"The overall theme of The Pensions Regulator and the FCA joining forces for a more coordinated and holistic approach to pension regulation can only be a good thing.