The Pension Schemes Bill was reintroduced in the Queen’s Speech today (19 December), following the Conservative Party’s victory in the General Election.
It remains largely unchanged from the initial bill, announced on 14 October, and includes legislation to establish collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, enhancing The Pensions Regulator’s powers and providing the framework for the pensions dashboard.
“We are pleased to see Guy Opperman’s Pension Schemes Bill return in the post-Election ‘Groundhog Day’ Queen’s Speech, confirming critical pensions changes remain a post-Brexit priority,” commented Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron.
“This paves the way for regained momentum on pension dashboards, new protections for members of defined benefit schemes and a new controversial form of CDC pension scheme.”
The regulator’s new powers, if the bill is approved by parliament, include the right to obtain the right information about a scheme and its employer “in a timely manner”, issuing new criminal offences and harsher punishments, and strengthening its scheme funding powers.
The new government will “compel” schemes to provide accurate data for the pensions dashboard and provisions for the regulators to ensure that relevant schemes comply.
The People’s Pension director of policy, Gregg McClymont, added: “To make the pensions dashboard a success, it’s vital that savers can see all their pension information – including the state pension and public pensions – in one place.
“And if the government is intent on delivering multiple dashboards, a number of measures are necessary to gain the public’s confidence.
“Total coverage is crucial; charges must be included from the outset to achieve transparency; and tough consumer protection measures are needed to ensure savers’ best interests are always put first.”
It also seeks to amend the legislation for the Pension Protection Fund compensation regime to enable the lifeboat to provide compensation as intended and amend the definition of administration charges.
Furthermore, the Pension Schemes Bill will create regulations to set out circumstances under which scheme members will have the right to transfer their pension savings to another scheme.
The bill’s provisions would extend and apply to the whole of the UK. Pensions policy is reserved in Scotland and Wales, but devolved to Northern Ireland.
The government said that the purpose of the bill was to “support pension saving in the 21st century, putting protection of people’s pensions at its heart”.
— to www.pensionsage.com