Work and Pensions Committee Report exposes gaping hole in pension freedoms as customers are left unprotected at retirement. Urgent calls for simpler, fairer information and standardised forms to help people understand their pension options and improve retirement income. Pressure on pensions industry to offer innovative products and good value default options for retirement income as MPs call for NEST to be allowed to compete. Before taking money out of pensions, more people need impartial financial guidance or advice. Gaping
Shocking failings uncovered at Financial Ombudsman. Channel 4 Dispatches undercover investigation finds major flaws in Ombudsman operation. FOS staff who don’t understand financial products, are pressured to turn down complaints and side with banks or financial providers. Urgent action needed to ensure financial customers have proper system of fair redress. Tonight at 8pm a Channel4 Dispatches programme will show shocking evidence of failings at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Members of the public are told to complain to the Ombudsman
MPs must ensure Government’s promised cold-calling ban actually works. Providers should also be required to automatically refer customers to PensionWise guidance. Financial Guidance and Claims Bill comes to Commons tomorrow for crucial votes – a chance to achieve proper protections, not just worthy headlines. I hope Government will back Frank Field’s amendments for cold-calling and automatic pensions guidance rather than its own weaker proposals. An opportunity to improve consumer protection properly: The House of Commons will vote tomorrow, Monday 12
UK State Pension officially the worst in the world – but still needs to be cut further. Middle income groups receive worse pensions than any other country in the OECD. Government actuaries say under-30s won’t get state pension till their 70s as new State Pension system is unaffordable. The Government Actuary says the UK State Pension is not sustainable, even though it is the lowest in the developed world, according to latest OECD figures. UK bottom of the global pensions
Changes to Financial Guidance Bill would leave pension customers more at risk of scams and fraud, buying overpriced products or paying unnecessary tax. Automatic guidance can help pension customers make the most of their pension savings. Disappointing to see Government bowing to industry pressure to weaken consumer protection. More pension customers will be at risk of scams and losses: I am really disappointed that the Government seems to have bowed to industry pressure and proposes to weaken consumer protection for
Carillion suggests some firms treat pension debt as ‘optional’. Did lenders demand pension fund should be sacrificed as condition of bank loan? Trustees and Pensions Regulator must be consulted before scheme security is compromised. Totally unacceptable to insist pension security plays second fiddle – these liabilities have people’s lives attached. Serious questions about banks demands to reduce pension funding as condition of new loans: Evidence is emerging today which suggests that Carillion’s banks insisted further lending to the company was
Pension Protection Fund can cope with Carillion. Concern that a hard Brexit might lead to PPF facing difficulties. The Carillion pensioners will see much of their pension replaced by the Pension Protection Fund (but future increases will be lower). However, those not yet at pension age or who took early retirement may lose at least 10-20% of their promised pension. The PPF has budgeted for some big schemes to fail and can manage the onboarding of all Carillion’s pension schemes.
Golden opportunity to address the social care crisis must not be missed. Integration of healthcare and social care can improve the quality of both. Meaningful reform must end artificial and unfair division between dementia and cancer. As the population ages, the country’s care system simply isn’t fit for purpose: Social care available from local authorities is not providing good care for today’s elderly people (a cohort which is currently very small yet is causing such mayhem), and that lack of
Toys’R’Us pension woes highlight risks in employer pension promises. Most private companies cannot shoulder open-ended multi-decade liabilities. In coming years, more employers will look to offload their pension schemes – or be bankrupted by them. Toys’R’Us is the latest casualty in the UK defined benefit pension crisis, highlighting yet again that private sector employer pension promises cannot always be relied upon. The Government recently concluded that most employers can afford their pension deficits, but I believe this is too complacent.
Ros explains that she has been offered the chance to become a Minister in charge of Consumer Financial Protection and Financial Education in a Conservative Government