Ian Neale, Aries Director, is a frequent contributor to the debate in the national pensions press.  Read Ian's incisive commentary, and share his unique insights into the problems and opportunities of pensions in the UK.  Here is a recent sample to get you copied in. Ian welcomes your response - just click here to send him an email.


in Pensions Expert

In the year ahead, the DWP, HMRC, TPR, FCA and any other arm of government with a role in UK pensions must be ready to minimise any damage and disruption arising from Brexit.

Maintaining trust and confidence in pensions should be their top priority, whatever the outcome of the political and economic uncertainty.

There are also a number of other important issues to be addressed, however. One clear priority for the Department for Work and Pensions is to secure parliamentary time in the summer for a new pensions bill This will include key enabling legislation for collective defined contribution schemes, as well as delivering the promised stronger defined benefit funding code, DB scheme consolidation, and even more powers for the Pensions Regulator.

Before it can get to this though, the government has to ensure a smooth transition of pensions guidance functions from the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise to the Single Financial Guidance Body.

Sections 18 and 19 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 – requiring members to be referred to appropriate pensions guidance before transferring or taking benefits – are among the few that are still not in force. Enabling this protection goal without making it look like a 'hoops-and-hurdles' obstacle course for members should be a priority for the Department for Work and Pensions.

The SFGB will also be responsible for implementing DWP policy to deliver a non-commercial pensions dashboard. Great hopes had been raised that people will be able to see all their accrued pension rights, including the state pension, in one place. It is now quite crucial . . .

09 Jan 2019   Read the full article


in Pension Funds Insider

DB schemes, Master Trusts and Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes can take advantage of coming together, Ian Neale discusses the benefits.

Looking back over 2018, member protection and collective provision have been two themes connecting a handful of key developments in pensions. What the White Paper on protecting defined benefit schemes, consolidation, master trusts and Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes all have in common is that coming together delivers better results.

It used to be a given that pension provision was a collective enterprise. Emerging from the paternalistic era in the 1980s, fixed-term employment contracts and self-employment (quasi or genuine) became more common. Individuals gradually acquired more options with the advent of contracting-out via protected rights, self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs), automatic enrolment and flexible access.

'Taking back control' is appealing, but with advantages also come responsibilities. Pensions professionals understand the concept of risk. The average citizen though, asked by a financial adviser 'how much risk do you want to take with your pension?' might well respond 'risk?!! I don't want to take any risks with my pension! Why would I put my savings at risk?'

Awareness is growing though, however slowly, that in the modern world where money purchase rules dominate, individual members bear all the uncertainties and risks associated with inflation, investment, longevity and so on. As awareness grows, so does the level of discomfort – and complaints. . . .

14 Dec 2018   Read the full article


in PMI Technical News

by Gareth Stears

What happens when you complain to your pension provider? The answer will largely depend on whether they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or not.

What rules must my pension provider follow when I complain?
Pnsion providers have to create a complaints procedure and they have to stick to it. The procedure must meet the "Treating complainants fairly" requirements in the FCA's handbook unless your provider is an occupational pension scheme. The FCA regulates pension providers, but with the specific exception of occupational schemes. Instead, these schemes (with few exceptions ) must create an "internal dispute resolution procedure" (IDRP) that meets requirements set out in legislation .

Your scheme must confirm its IDRP to you within two months of you joining or (if sooner) within a month of your employer giving the scheme your details. You can request the information again once a year; as can a recognised trade union. The scheme must inform members before changing anything in its IDRP (or within three months of the change if prior notification is not practical). Under FCA rules, your provider has to give you only basic details about its complaints procedure at the point of sale or first contact, on request, and when acknowledging a complaint.

How do I make an official complaint?
Under FCA rules, providers receive an official complaint whenever a customer claims they have caused them (or may cause them) loss, distress, or inconvenience. You can claim this in writing or just express it in passing on the phone. It doesn't matter whether . . .

21 Nov 2018   Read the full article

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