(asked on 14th January 2015) - View Source

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to promote (1) increased competition, and (2) the levying of fair fees and commissions, in the private pensions industry.

Answered by
Lord Freud Portrait
Lord Freud
This question was answered on 20th January 2015

The Government and regulators have introduced a package of measures, including establishing Independent Governance Committees to improve governance in contract based pension schemes, improved governance standards for trust based schemes and the introduction of a 0.75 per cent cap on charges in the default funds of schemes used for automatic enrolment. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these changes will come into effect from April.

The Government is also banning a number of charges which are no longer appropriate in the context of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions. From April 2015, we will extend the existing ban on consultancy charging to all contract-based schemes used for automatic enrolment. Likewise, adviser commission and Active Member Discounts, which penalise those who stop contributing or leave their employer and move jobs, will be banned in all schemes used for automatic enrolment from April 2016. We are also introducing measures to improve transparency throughout the value chain in the workplace pensions market and expect that this will lead to increased competition on costs and charges to the benefit of the consumer.

The recent pensions flexibility reforms are also an opportunity for the retirement income industry to develop new products that meet the evolving needs of consumers. The new flexibility will help consumers choosing to select an annuity or another option to access their pension savings to get a better deal in a more competitive market place. The shape of the market will now be driven by the choices consumers make, placing power back into the hands of savers.

Furthermore, as of the end of December, over 5.1 million workers have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. This is having a significant impact on the private pensions market and by 2020, we estimate that automatic enrolment will have generated an additional £8 to £12 billion a year in workplace pension saving. The growth in this market is supporting strong competition between providers and schemes.

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