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Pension statements reform a 'waste of scarce legislative time'

Pension statements reform a 'waste of scarce legislative time'

Legislating for a statement season is a waste of time when other areas of the pension landscape need fixing first, according to guests on the latest edition of the FTAdviser Podcast.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has said his next plan for reform involves legislating for simpler pension statements, including a "statement season" when everyone receives their pension information at the same time in the year.

Opperman said he wanted it to become normal for people to meet in a place, such as a pub, and have a frank conversation about their pensions with their friends.

But former pensions minister and current partner at LCP Steve Webb said there were numerous things the government should be legislating for before this.

Webb said: “I've got a shopping list of things I'd legislate for and this wouldn't even be on it. So the idea that he's going to waste scarce legislative and government time on this, when there's so much else that needs fixing, is just appalling.”

He added: “Millions and millions of pieces of paper going all over the land in a single month just seems to me to be missing the point.”

Also appearing on the podcast, Tom McPhail, director of public affairs at the Lang Cat, said the reasoning behind statement season, to get more people to engage with their pots, was the right way forward but this may not be the right way to go about it.

McPhail suggested statement season should not last a week but a month or three months instead.

He said: “I agree with Steve that paper is a last resort these days, the more we can do digitally, the better. 

“The problem is a lot of pension providers don't have people's email addresses. They're going to need people's email addresses. So what can they do to gather people's email addresses?”

He said the industry should work with Opperman to find a solution that will work for everyone.

“How can we come up with a solution that looks something like a statement season but maybe isn't exactly a statement season that does stimulate better engagement,” McPhail said. 

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