Opperman to beat Webb’s pension minister record

Opperman to beat Webb’s pension minister record

Tomorrow (June 10) marks the day when current pensions minister Guy Opperman will match his predecessor Steve Webb’s record tenure in post.

From 2010-15 Webb served as minister of state for pensions, which saw him become the longest-serving pensions minister since the creation of the post in 1998.

But on Friday, Opperman will take this record for himself, having been the parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Work and Pensions since June 14, 2017.

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Opperman told FTAdviser: “I am privileged to have served as pensions minister of this great country for the past five years.

“I’m proud of the progress made, especially our landmark Pension Schemes Act which made pensions safer, better and greener, and am excited about what’s still to come as we work to ensure the record number of Brits now saving for a pension can achieve the best retirement possible.”

Congratulating Opperman, Webb said: “There is no doubt that pensions policy benefits from consistency rather than a ‘revolving door’ of ministers, and it is good to have a minister who actually wants the job.”

Webb highlighted Opperman's progress on a number of fronts, including getting pension dashboards ready to go live, getting the legal framework in place for collective defined contribution schemes and having a greater focus on how pension scheme money is invested.

However, he noted that there had been a lack of progress on automatic enrolment.

Webb added: “Opperman has many things to be proud of, including moving much nearer to the go-live for pensions dashboards, and helping to enable the first CDC schemes in the UK, as well as raising the profile of climate change in the pensions and investment world.  

“But I am sure that he will be disappointed by how little progress has been made on automatic enrolment, as shown by the fact that the 2017 review remains gathering dust nearly five years later.  

“This is undoubtedly due to the Treasury refusing to sign-off on these proposals, and is a sign that pensions policy is increasingly driven from the Treasury rather than DWP”.

After holding the post of pension minister, Webb went on to be knighted in the 2017 New Years Honours.

In August 2015, it was announced Webb was becoming director of policy and external communications at the financial services mutual Royal London. In 2020, Webb left Royal London to take up a partner role at consultancy Lane Clark and Peacock.

Before taking up a career in politics, Opperman trained as a solicitor. He was called to the Bar in 1989 and spent 20 years as a barrister – 15 years of which were spent predominantly at the criminal bar.

Opperman is also known for being an amateur jockey, and rode his first win in 1985.