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Politicians to blame for misselling, says Pickering

Politicians and civil servants must shoulder some of the blame for pension misselling as they created the environment that allowed it to happen, according to pension review chief Alan Pickering.

Speaking at the Chartered Insurance Institute annual conference in Birmingham last week, Pickering said that by not allowing concurrency during the years when pension misselling occurred, the Government effectively fostered a situation where unscrupulous selling took place.

Pickering said it is not fair that the financial service ind-ustry has had to accept the total blame for the £15bn scandal and that the Government must admit the role it played.

He said it was politicians and civil servants that created personal pensions, embarked on massive ad campaigns to promote them and then would not allow savers to contribute to both an occupational and personal schemes simultaneously.

This was one of the primary causes of misselling, he said. If concurrency in some form had been allowed, Pickering said the amount of so-called misselling would have been much less severe. He said: “If concurrency had been granted long ago, the problems would not have occurred. Politicians and civil servants created the environment where misselling took place.

“They artificially engineered competition between workplace and personal pensions.”

Scottish Life head of communications Alasdair Buch-anan says: “I agree totally with Alan Pickering in terms of analysis of what happened but I do not think there is anything to be gained by spreading the blame around at this stage.”

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