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Altmann challenges Turner on pensions

Former Downing Street pension adviser Dr Ros Altmann is calling on Lord Adair Turner to stand up to the Government on personal accounts in his new role as FSA chairman.

Altmann is worried that Turner, who chaired the Pensions Commission which proposed personal accounts, may fail to voice his concerns if the Government fails to address issues such as means-testing.

Altmann believes Turner should insist on a suitability test for personal accounts. She says he will have to put up a fight because the Government is more focused on getting money into personal accounts rather than ensuring they are good value.

She says: “Turner will obviously have a strong interest in getting personal accounts off the ground. He may come back and say:, you did not do it how I proposed. One has to wonder whether he will have the courage to stand up to the Government. He has to be able to overcome political and industry pressure if ordinary people are to be protected. Part of the problem in the past has been that the FSA is too scared to put up a challenge.”

Lansons Public Affairs director Ralph Jackson says: “As head of the FSA, Turner could see himself answerable for issues such as means-testing. I can see some future Treasury select committee inquiry where Turner is defending the Government.

“Any misbuying issues will come bouncing back, first to the employer, then the firms managing the funds, then the chairman of the FSA who was directly responsible for regulating those firms.”

Turner will succeed Sir Callum McCarthy when he retires from the FSA in September.

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