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Pensions minister tells ABI to accelerate charges disclosure standards

Steve Webb 480 LibDems DWP

Pensions minister Steve Webb has urged the Association of British Insurers to accelerate plans to introduce improved costs and charges disclosure standards for providers.

Earlier this month, fourteen of the UK’s biggest pension providers signed up to a series of charges disclosure requirements.

Under the terms of the agreement, insurers will be required to disclose total charges to employees at the outset to a standard definition, disclose total charges in the previous year and disclose the previous year’s investment transaction costs.

The new standards will be implemented by the summer of 2014 for schemes newly established for auto-enrolment, and for all older workplace pension schemes by 31 December 2015.

The proposed timetable has been criticised as too slow by Labour Shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont.

Addressing the Department for Work and Pensions select committee earlier this week, Webb (pictured) said: “We are urging the ABI to go faster than [the existing timetable], that is what I said to them last week.

“One of the problems for the ABI is the diversity of their membership and trying to get everyone to do something the same way is a challenge.”

DWP head of private pensions policy and analysis Bridget Micklem said: “The problem with insurers often is they have businesses that have been put together and big legacy systems that do not talk to each other.

“One of the things the ABI told us is there will be competitive pressure in the industry for some members to go fast with that disclosure because they will see it as a selling point.”

ABI director of life, savings and protection Stephen Gay says: “We would expect the minister to be pressing us to move faster. I would stress that what we have set is a deadline and the 14 signatories are free to implement this earlier if they are able to.”


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