Ros Altmann is to be made a peer and appointed as a minister responsible for financial consumer protection and education, if the Conservatives are in government after the election.
Altmann’s first task will be to lead a review of the pension reforms, including the future of the Money Advice Service and whether a charge cap should be introduced on pension products.
Altmann will also develop Pension Wise to offer financial education and guidance to working people, not just retirees, and look at how older consumers’ rights, especially in the mortgage market, can be improved.
She says: “It [a review of the MAS] is certainly something I’ll be looking at as part of the review.”
Prime Minister David Cameron says: “What we’re doing is taking the country’s leading expert on pensions, on savings, on financial education, Ros Altmann, and saying that if we’re re-elected, she’ll be at the heart of government, making sure we complete this great revolution where we’re giving people much more power to save, to access their pension, to pass their pension on to their children, because we want to create a real savings culture in our country for everybody. Not for the rich at the top, but for everybody who saves or has a pension.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says he has “mixed feelings” about the announcement.
He says: “Ros has a strong reputation for speaking up on behalf of consumers on matters of personal finance, in particular on pensions. However her remit will cover consumer protection and financial education, tasks which are already performed by organisations such as the Financial Conduct Authority and the Money Advice Service.
“The key priority and principle measure of success for any savings and investment minister should be encouraging more people to save and invest. Unfortunately this essential objective is still not being taken seriously enough by any of the political parties, and it does not seem to be within the scope of this role either.”
Altmann is currently the Government’s older workers’ champion and was previously an investment banker and director-general of Saga.