Supporting the push for a single pensions regulator in the UK
It’s a step in the right direction to see the financial services industry almost universally backing proposals by the UK’s Work and Pensions Committee for just one regulatory body to oversee pensions.
Most people in the industry are welcoming the plans for a single regulator that were again yesterday put forward by the influential group of MPs. The plans had been previously been mooted and subsequently rejected by the government back in 2013.
The minister for pensions now also seems more swayed by the idea too.
A new independent pensions ‘commission’ would, say the MPs pushing for it, take an “evidence-based and inclusive approach to assessing the impacts of the recent pension reforms… and recommend further improvements where necessary”; and “provide coherence in pensions policy and long-term stability in the system.”
Under the current system, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), with HM Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) take the on the regulator functions.
The report published yesterday by the Work and Pension Committee’s states: “The case for taking this step is even stronger now, given the greater risks to savers from fraud, and detrimental financial products, which accompany… the new flexibilities.
“Savers would have clarity on who was responsible for providing guidance and redress, and employers and the pensions industry would have a single body to advise and supervise them.”
I fully endorse the proposal of having a single pensions regulator. Like those MPs on the committee, I believe it will drive up industry standards, create stability in the industry (as it would be independent of whichever political party is in power), allow for a considered analysis of the evolving pensions landscape, fill in many regulatory gaps, and be clearer and simple and provide greater protection for clients and industry stakeholders.
Let’s hope this new commission is established sooner rather than later after the general election.