Without a doubt 2018 will be a critical year for financial services. As I’ve said before, if you heroically put Brexit to one side, I think that the biggest issue facing society is the issue of long-term savings.
Advisers have a key role to play in ensuring that people make the right choices to both plan for and afford their retirement.
We have seen this recently in the case of the British Steel pension scheme. Making a decision about whether to transfer out of the pension is one that needs high quality advice. I’d like to thank the advisers who brought examples of poor advice to our attention, allowing us to deal with this swiftly.
We rely on advisers as a key source of intelligence to understand what is happening in situations like these. We intend to publish our pension strategy next year. This will be an important piece of work setting out for the first time our assessment of the major issues in the sector as we consider the impact of the pension freedoms nearly three years on from their introduction.
2018 will also see the publication of the final report of our retirement outcomes review. We published our interim findings and remedies in the summer and we identified particular concerns about consumers who are buying drawdown products without taking advice. The remedies aim to improve competition in this market as well as potentially providing additional protections for consumers.
The impact that historically low interest rates have on long-term savings was something we were acutely aware of as we were carrying out the asset management market study. The changes that we will begin to see next year, subject to the results of our consultation, will improve competitiveness in the sector and ultimately help savers earn a return on their savings.
Clearly these are big issues facing the sector and I look forward to working with advisers throughout 2018 to tackle them.
Andrew Bailey is chief executive of the FCA