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Friends Life launches independent governance committee

Friends Life has launched its independence governance committee to oversee the running of its workplace pension schemes.

The insurer has appointed independent trustee firm Pitmans Trustees’ Steve Carrodus as chairman. Capital Cranfield Trustees’ Jonathan Lord and pension insurer Rothesay Life non-executive director Charles Pickup will also sit on the committee.

Carrodus says: “IGCs are an important new body in the governance structure of workplace pensions.

“We have assembled a committee with an excellent blend of skills and experience and we look forward to working on behalf of the scheme members to ensure they receive value for money from their pension arrangements.”

Friends Life managing director of workplace and intermediated Colin Williams and managing director of proposition and pricing David Still will represent the provider on the committee.

The FCA is consulting on the design of the IGCs, which providers agreed to set up for contract-based schemes after a damning Office of Fair Trading report into the defined contribution pensions market. Providers have a January 2015 deadline to establish the committees that under current plans must have five members – two from the provider and three independent experts appointed by the provider.

IGCs have been given a duty to act in the interests of scheme members, be independent of the provider, and to raise the alarm if customers are suffering from poor value for money.

Responsible investment charity ShareAction recently raised concerns over whether IGCs could ever really be independent in their current form and called for direct member representation.

L&G launched its governance committee in May 2013, a few months before the OFT report.

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