Five-point plan to restore trust in pensions

Chris Curry, Brian Souter, Jo Cumbo header image
By CA Today

26 September 2018

A five-point plan to help restore trust in pensions has been unveiled at the ICAS Challenging Conversation debate in London.

Josephine Cumbo, pensions correspondent at the Financial Times, revealed her plan during the live panel debate on the need for a change in approach to pensions policy making on 11 September.

Addressing an audience of pension experts and CAs, Josephine said: “You may not like what I have to say, but I am not at all surprised that trust in long-term savings products is so low because time after time I have seen first-hand the consequences of abuse of trust by the industry.”

After listing a litany of failures and abuses she believes have been carried out by the pensions industry, government and regulators – including cases of people being cheated out of their lifetime savings by scammers and the steel workers in Port Talbot who were enticed to hand over their defined benefit (DB) pensions into high charging, and inappropriate funds by so-called advisers – Josephine unveiled her five-point plan:

  1. A stronger voice for consumers in government by bolstering the role of the Minister for Consumer Affairs.
  2. Properly resource regulators and give them a strong mandate to protect consumers’ interests.
  3. Business needs to be more responsible and show leadership – companies and individuals who don’t play by the rules should be named and shamed.
  4. An independent commission to establish consensus on policies that are in the long-term interest of pension savers should be established.
  5. A strong and effective opposition to hold government to account on policy.

Watch Josephine talk about her plan:

Joining Josephine on the panel was:

  • Gregg McClymont, Director of Policy and External Affairs at B&CE, provider of the People’s Pension and a member of the ICAS Pensions Panel, who pitched an innovative idea around improving governance in auto-enrolment (AE) schemes;
  • Tom McPhail, Head of Retirement Policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, who tackled the problem of multiple pension pots;
  • Chris Curry, Director of the Pensions Policy Institute and a co-chair of the DWP’s Automatic Enrolment Review Advisory Group, who suggested that one of the ways that government could help to try and improve trust in pensions is to return to a long-term view; and
  • Sir Brian Souter CA, ICAS immediate Past President, whose concern centred around the investment approach of DB pension schemes and the “very strange pathway” that the pensions industry is on.

The panel event was chaired by Financial broadcaster and founder of, Sarah Pennells.

This challenging conversation on pensions will continue online at, in The CA magazine, in CA Today and on social media at #ChallengePensions.

Help us drive forward the challenges, ideas and solutions that need to emerge by commenting on articles, sharing the videos on social media and debating the issues.


  • Pensions
  • Thought leadership
  • Challenging Conversations

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