Pensions  

Altmann urges govt to act on pension inequality

Ms Altmann also called on the government to ensure the pension credit is protected the same way as state pensions in order to mitigate the way the state pension triple lock discriminates against women.

Further remedies include reducing the lower earnings threshold, or abolishing it, and allowing all workers with multiple jobs to claim credit for state pension regardless of their earnings in each job.

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She also urged to ensure all women looking after children can claim credit for state pension and backdate any claims.

Ms Altmann also called on the government to help women retain pension membership during maternity leave or childcare, encouraging employers or partners contributing for them, and to remove the £10,000 earnings limit for auto-enrolment, which, she said, excluded millions of women.

On private pensions, Ms Altmann called for a policy to automatically enrol everyone looking to take money out of their pension or buy an annuity into free PensionWise guidance, so they understand the risks and complexities, and ideally encourage more people to take financial advice.

And for those undergoing a divorce, the government should ensure that all women with pension sharing orders must give formal approval before former husbands can transfer or withdraw money from their pension.

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, agreed that despite the equal state pension age, men and women cannot yet be considered equal in terms of pensions outcomes.

"They have equal rights with men towards the state pension, although because of past history they have yet to achieve full parity in all respects." he said.

Anna Sofat, co-founder and CEO of advice firm Addidi, said: "While the amount of wealth controlled and owned by women continues to rise at record rates, there are still many areas where equality is remains an elusive dream and this is specially so where pensions are concerned.

"As Ros Altman so rightly points out, equalising the state pension age over such a short period has resulted in greater pension income inequality for many women.

"So whilst the principle of equalising pension age is correct, the reality for many has been a deteriorating outcome.

"Two of the quickest ways the government can accelerate pension income equality is by further scrapping the minimum threshold of £10,000 for auto-enrolment and holding companies accountable for their pay gaps."

Venilia Batista Amorim is a freelance writer for FTAdviser