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Wicks warns Webb to beware vested interests

Former Labour pensions minister Malcolm Wicks has warned newly appointed LibDem pensions minister Steve Webb to beware of the “deep vested interests” of the pension industry.

In a letter, broadcast on BBC’s Money Box last week, Wicks says: “Opposition is easy. Government is tough, very tough. You will certainly not be short of advice. Among the more polite will be the pensions industry but remember that they have deep vested interests and cream off too much from people’s pensions.”

Webb confirmed he was still keen to bring in a citizens’ pension over the long term. He said: “We have a system with almost three pensions. A basic one that we are trying to increase, a complicated second one that few people understand and then a mass means test.

“The goal has got to be ideally a single simple system if we can get there. We are talking about a decent state pension and that does not come cheap and we have to think about the long term. But if we always have got in the back of our mind, well, we cannot do major reforms because there is never any money, then we are cursed with incrementalism and we just cannot go on like that.”

Axa head of pensions development Mike Morrison says: “Most pensions these days are nowhere near as expensive as they were previously. With the RDR, a lot of the pension industry’s products are more cleanly and keenly priced.”

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “Wicks’ comments underline the sheer number of pensions ministers Labour had and the fact that none of them ever really got their head around the problem.”


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. SIMON MANSELL 27th May 2010 at 3:39 pm


    This man was part of the “Brown years”, not golden years but muddy dark years when Britain was relegated to the status of Greece and Spain, where final salary pensions were broken into and dividend tax credits stolen, where Labour removed distribution costs from stakeholder with the results that they also removed distribution and finally where Browns storm troops the FSA designed a process to destroy independent advice in order to hand over its distribution to the banks in spite of its record low levels of low complaints.

  2. John Shackleton 27th May 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Agreed Robert, and each one of them showed a complete inability to want to listen to the advice given, even when a the vast majority was from people with many, many years experience. A massive failing not a strength I think!

    An assumption that the advice was based on individual vested interest perhaps typifies the last Governments disregard for external expertise. No wonder they made such a ‘horlicks’ of our once great pension system.

    Note to Steve Webb – there are many in this industry who have the future pension system for the good of UKplc at heart. Please listen to them and we may stand a chance of recovering from the mess that Wicks and his many cronies have left behind.

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