As chairman of the Treasury select committee, John McFall was charged with holding the previous Government, regulators and the industry to account. Having stood down at the last general election, he has left his growling and often headline-grabbing Parliamentary performances behind and taken to the road to lead an independent inquiry into workplace retirement saving.
The Workplace Retirement Income Commission is being sponsored by the National Association of Pension Funds and was set up to help built evidence and policy suggestions to support the Government’s commitment to reinvigorate occupational pensions.
McFall will be travelling around the country, visiting universities and businesses large and small, to help inform the views of the commission which will deliver an interim report in the coming weeks before publishing its final recommendations in October.
The Government has moved quickly to make its mark in certain pension areas, for instance, commissioning John Hutton to look at public sector pensions, pushing ahead with Nest and auto-enrolment, reforming the annuitisation regime and examining early access.
However, at a recent speech in London, Association of Consulting Actuaries chairman Stuart Southall was right to observe the coalition has so far failed to deliver on its commitment to reinvigorate occupational savings.
Southall says the Government should consider proposals to encourage pension risk-sharing, a combination of DB and DC provision, a suggestion likely to be examined closely by McFall’s commission. The Department for Work and Pensions says it supports the review, although it has not committed any funding, and the commission’s findings are likely to be influential in developing Government policy.
It seems no Government pensions announcement can pass these days without a flurry of press releases from firms stating once more their full commitment to the open market option.
In this month’s issue, Partnership managing director Andrew Megson says such bland endorsements have become boring and add little to public policy debate. He suggests that with recent Government backing for the Omo the battle is close to being won and focus should turn to the role the industry must play in transforming consumer behaviour.
Ahead of this Summer’s Dilnot Commission report, Linstock consultant Tony Cox articulates why policy-makers must ensure any proposals around long-term care address the specific needs of the UK’s black and minority ethnic populations.
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