Pensions  

‘Broad dissatisfaction’ felt over govt pension policy

‘Broad dissatisfaction’ felt over govt pension policy
TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Dissatisfaction has mounted over the government’s handling of pension policy during the past year.

Fewer than half (49 per cent) of UK pension professionals surveyed by the Pensions Management Institute said they were satisfied with the direction of pensions policy over the past six months, according to data published today (June 6).

This figure is down from nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of professionals who said they were satisfied with it this time last year, making a 12 percentage point drop.

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In particular, less than a third of respondents were satisfied with the government's increase of the normal minimum pension age to 57 from 2028. 

While more than three quarters (81 per cent) of respondents are not confident the triple lock will exist in its original format in five years.

As for the government’s action across the industry more generally, more than two thirds (65 per cent) said they were dissatisfied.

Complaints hinged around lack of clarity and communication with the public by the government about changes it had made.

As a result of the findings, the survey labelled these figures as representative of “broad dissatisfaction” felt across the pensions industry towards the government.

“Our research suggests that the government faces an uphill climb to convince the industry that it understands the most pressing issues and is taking action to tackle them,” said the Pensions Management Institute’s vice president, Rosie Lacey.

"The lukewarm feelings of those surveyed about the direction of pensions policy over the past six months and the six months ahead should be cause for reflection among officials.”

In particular, Lacey said questions raised by respondents about the future of the pensions triple lock and the handling of the increase to the normal minimum pension age seem “widespread”. 

“These are surely issues which the government should confront if they wish to have the confidence of the pensions industry,” she said.

While a minority are now satisfied with the government’s pensions policy, the majority of the 102 pension professionals surveyed (58 per cent) are happy with the work of The Pensions Regulator over the past six months.

"In contrast to the respondent’s feelings about the future of pensions policy, those surveyed seem satisfied with the work of The Pensions Regulator’s actions over the past six months and confident in its direction for the months ahead,” said Lacey.

“Clearly there are mixed feelings amongst the pensions professionals about the current state of the industry and what lies ahead.”

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com