Govt pushes back against dashboard scam protections

Govt pushes back against dashboard scam protections

The government has moved to reverse an amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill which sought to exclude all financial transactions from the pensions dashboard to protect savers from scams.

Brought by Labour peer Baroness Drake, the amendment was to ensure any dashboard service would not go beyond finding and displaying information on a consumer’s savings and would not allow financial transactions to take place before parliament can consider the matter and approve it through legislation.

Baroness Drake said the move was important to stop savers being targeted by fraudsters and losing all their savings. 

But the government has moved to remove this from being included in the bill, according to the latest notice of amendments, published this week (October 20).

The push back to the amendments made in the House of Lords, has been tabled by pensions minister Guy Opperman, who is seeking to reverse all four non-government amendments made by peers in June.

He also removed an amendment which would have blocked commercial companies from operating dashboards until a publicly-run service, launched by the Money and Pensions Service, had been running and tested for at least a year. 

Other amendments which have been removed related to collective money purchase schemes and the funding of open defined benefit schemes.

MPs will need to vote on Mr Opperman’s amendments but they are likely to pass due to the Conservatives' large majority in the house.

According to LCP, it is not yet clear whether the government intends to accept some of the arguments that led to these amendments being carried and reflect them in another way outside the bill, or whether it simply wishes to use its majority in the Commons to reverse them.  

This may become clearer when the Pension Schemes Bill enters committee stage, although a date has not yet been set.

A spokesperson for LCP said: “At second reading Guy Opperman stated that he was open to the concerns being expressed in relation to the open DB schemes funding issue, so it is possible that it will be the regulator’s guidance that will bend, rather than wording in the bill.”

The final version of the bill will have to be agreed by both houses.

The Pensions Schemes Bill was reintroduced to the House of Lords at the beginning of this year (January 7) after the December general election delayed its debate in parliament.

It was then halted once again due to the government’s commitment to hurry through emergency health legislation to combat the effects of coronavirus.

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