Queen’s Speech: ICAS reaction on pensions
ICAS pensions expert Christine Scott offers her reaction to pensions legislation featured in the Queen's Speech.
The Queen's Speech today (4 June) marked the formal start of the parliamentary year at Westminster and pensions changes featured prominently in the legislative programme outlined by the Monarch. Christine Scott, Assistant Director Charities & Pensions at ICAS, offers her perspective on the pensions changes planned by the Coalition Government.
"There is to be no let-up to the Coalition Government's pensions reform agenda in the final parliamentary term before the 2015 General Election. Today's Queen's Speech, with the announcement of two further pensions bills, means that no aspect of our pension system will remain unreformed.
The bills will bring to fruition measures designed to increase pensions saving through facilitating the development of better performing defined contribution pension arrangements and through delivering the flexible retirement options announced by the Chancellor in the 2014 Budget.
Key to the success of the Government's aspirations is its ability to deliver a regulatory regime which drives innovation from pension providers while ensuring that consumers' interests are protected. So far government consultations on both counts have been short on detail and have therefore received a mixed reception from commentators, including ICAS.
The Government's commitment to delivering such major reforms in short order brings risks. Dialogue with the pensions industry and pensions professionals generally will be vital to their long-term success and to minimise unintended consequences. More flexible savings and retirement options are likely to highlight a knowledge gap that the proposed guidance guarantee and independent financial advice may not be able to fill. Ultimately, we will all need to be better equipped to navigate the available options so that we can make decisions affecting our retirement income with confidence."