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‘No gibberish’: Webb explores how to disclose pension charges

The Government will consult on how to disclose the full costs and charges from pensions schemes without creating “pages of gibberish” that savers cannot understand.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday in the final stage of the Pensions Bill, pensions minister Steve Webb said he would act as “fast as we can” on charges disclosure.

The Government amended the Bill after pressure from Labour and former Conservative Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson to publish pension costs and charges in full.

Webb said he is working with the FCA and The Pensions Regulator on what should be fully disclosed and how to publish the information.

He said: “Some have suggested we should just bung it on a website. We obviously want meaningful information, not just to have tens of thousands of pension schemes recording vast amounts of data. “

Webb says he will make information available to fiduciaries of any scheme first, whether the trustees or the independent governance committees.

He said: “Members should have the information in meaningful form, not just pages of gibberish. We have all seen how information that is required by law to be sent to scheme members can turn out to be more or less useless, because nobody ever reads it.

“We therefore have to think about the right formats in which to supply information to fiduciaries and to scheme members, and the right way to make the information public, and we are thinking that through at the moment.

“Disclosure on its own is not enough; powers in the Bill will allow the Government to regulate to control charges and to require minimum standards of governance.”

Shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont tabled an amendment to include an inexhaustive list of charges to be disclosed instead of a broad power but it was defeated.

He said: “Nobody who looks at this matter reasonably can have confidence that the Government will deliver the disclosure of any transaction costs.”

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Ha-ha! He needs to have a chat with the FCA and gain a basic understanding of why the paperwork exists in the first place. It is there for a reason and much as I agree that less is more, trimming it down will fly in the face of everything that the regulator requires for our industry.

    However, welcome to the party, better late than never, but I bet you will be leaving after just two drinks!

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