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ABI warns Govt ‘not ready’ for pension freedoms

The pensions industry is being hampered in its efforts to be ready for the pension reforms because crucial details remain unanswered by the Government, according to the Association of British Insurers.

Speaking at the ABI Retirement Conference in London today, director general Huw Evans said: “It is impossible to stand here six weeks before 6 April and say the Government is ready – that is a statement of fact not an attribution of blame.”

He added: “The Government has simply not been able to deliver enough at this stage to ensure the reforms have a flying start when they go live. Critical pieces of the jigsaw are still missing and will not be in place in time.

“I see no point in a blame game and would hope this will not develop as the reforms go live, despite the pressures of the pre-election period.”

The ABI says key uncertainties include the lack of:

  • a phone number for the Pension Wise guidance service
  • details on how Pension Wise guidance sessions will work in practice
  • official estimates of how many people will use Pension Wise
  • clarity on the regulation of how trust-based schemes will make lump sum payments
  • rules for the ‘second line of defence’ providers will have to offer consumers when they try to access their pension pots.

The FCA made the last minute requirement after pressure from the industry and politicians warning of the risk of consumers who do not take up Pension Wise or see an adviser losing out as a result of the pension reforms. However, the regulator said providers would have to wait until March to see the final rules.

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