Pensions  

Opperman reappointed as pensions minister

Opperman reappointed as pensions minister

Guy Opperman (pictured) has been reappointed as minister for pensions and financial inclusion by prime minister Boris Johnson.

The appointment, made on Friday (July 26) afternoon, followed what was called a “ruthless reshuffle” and “cabinet carnage” on the previous day, and saw Sajid Javid named chancellor, among other changes.

Mr Opperman, who was appointed for the role in June 2017, is already the second-longest serving pensions minister, behind Sir Steve Webb, now director of policy at Royal London, who was in the role between 2010 and 2015.

Mr Opperman said on Twitter on Friday that he was delighted to continue in his role, and highlighted some of the achievements of the government in this area, such as raising auto-enrolment minimum contributions to 8 per cent and getting more than 10m people enrolled.

He also noted that he will continue championing the pensions dashboard – which will ensure people throughout the UK have easy access to key information about what pensions they have, who manages them and what they are worth – and introduce regulations for pension schemes to disclose the risks of their investments, including the ones arising from ESG, later this year.

Amber Rudd also managed to hold onto the role of secretary of state for Work and Pensions — a position she has held since November last year. She was given the additional brief of minister for Women and Equalities.

Several pensions experts, such as Margaret Snowdon, chairwoman of the Pension Scams Industry Group and president of the Pensions Administration Standards Association, and Henry Tapper, founder of the Pension Playpen and chief executive of AgeWage, congratulated Mr Opperman on his reappointment.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, noted that while Brexit has been dominating government, Mr Opperman has “been making significant progress across a range of pension initiatives such as the pension dashboard, so it's great to see him as well as Amber Rudd remain in position”.

He added: “Continuity is hugely important for something as long term as pensions and we very much hope to see further progress soon with the pensions agenda.”

However, others have been more sceptical, such as Sir Steve.

He said: “Although it is welcome to have the same person remain in post, the fact that Boris Johnson appointed someone who has been so openly critical, suggests that DWP pensions issues are a low priority for the new PM.

“Given the risk of major economic upheaval around Brexit and major political upheaval in the event of a general election, sadly we cannot assume that we are entering a period of stability when it comes to pensions policy.”

Mr Opperman is expected to deliver a pensions bill which is expected to address not only the pension dashboard but also collective defined contribution schemes and The Pensions Regulator's new powers.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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