The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday heralded a packed Parliamentary timetable. Amongst the information on a raft of new Bills, the Government has promised us another Pensions Bill to continue its revolution in work-based pensions.
The Bill’s measures will include:
- Requiring master trusts to meet “strict” new criteria before entering the pensions market and giving the Pensions Regulator greater powers to regulate such schemes – a move warmly welcomed by the Regulator;
- Capping early exit fees charged by trust-based occupational pension schemes “to ensure that excessive charges do not prevent occupational scheme members from taking advantage of pension freedoms”; and
- Creating “a straightforward private pensions guidance service” by bringing together the Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise and the pensions services offered by the Money Advice Service.
Given the high profile that pensions have had in recent times, these measures are not unexpected. Indeed, it might be surprising if further measures are not added as the Bill develops and makes its way through Parliament, particularly in view of the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into pensions regulation and the Pension Protection Fund, and lessons to be learnt from recent pensions cases including BHS.
It is also worth mentioning that the Lifetime Savings Bill, which will include measures for a new Lifetime ISA, will be introduced alongside the Pensions Bill. The Lifetime ISA could have as much potential to shape the future of work-based pension provision as the Pensions Bill.