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    From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

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    Category: Pensions

    Stronger, safe pensions from Lords Pension Schemes Bill amendments

    Stronger, safe pensions from Lords Pension Schemes Bill amendments

    House of Lords passes important Pension Schemes Bill changes to better protect people’s pensions. Better protection for all types of pension and improved consumer safeguards in Pension Dashboard.   Last night, important changes were introduced to the Pension Schemes Bill which has been going through the House of Lords, before passing to the Commons in coming weeks. Government should be congratulated for its work on this important Bill: The proposals cover many vital aspects of the future pensions landscape. Its…

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    What will current crisis do to the State Pension triple lock?

    What will current crisis do to the State Pension triple lock?

    Will current crisis spell the long-overdue review of totemic state pension triple lock? Yes, Government must protect pensioners, but triple lock is not best way. Triple lock is more about politics than protection and does not properly cover over-70s. Reform of pensioner support as economy recovers likely to be on Treasury agenda as earnings and inflation numbers will be distorted by emergency measures. Will current crisis reduce political attachment to totemic state pension triple lock?: The Government absolutely must protect pensioners,…

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    Is time up for the triple lock?

    Is time up for the triple lock?

    It’s really important to protect pensioners – but is triple lock the best means of doing so?    Triple lock does not protect the poorest and oldest pensioners.  Moving to a double lock to increase State Pensions, including Pension Credit,  by best of earnings or price inflation would offer better protection.  The Triple Lock on State Pensions was introduced in 2011 to protect pensioner incomes. Over many years, the Basic State Pension had fallen significantly behind general increases in income…

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    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    FCA concerns about ‘significant risks of harm’ from pension freedoms are valid, but do not mean freedoms are wrong. Consumers are facing new risks, but it is right to allow people to manage their pensions over time, rather than requiring most to just buy a standard annuity.  Original policy intention of ensuring everyone receives impartial guidance or advice before taking money from their pension was absolutely right, but this is not happening in practice.  Without impartial guidance or advice, consumers…

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    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Well done to Government and the Pensions Regulator for emergency pension measures. Protecting the principle of auto-enrolment is hugely important. But allowing employers leeway to delay deficit contributions during current crisis makes sense. Allowing schemes’ trustees to suspend transfers for at least three months can protect members against scams and allow more time to assess more reliable valuations. The Government and the Pensions Regulator deserve plaudits, in my view, for announcing bold emergency measures to address some of the potential…

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    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Two important pension crisis measures to help protect consumers and improve records:  Stop all pension transfers for six months. Ensure pension administrators start to reconcile records, cleanse and validate data to improve accuracy of pension information. These two emergency measures are designed to stabilise pension schemes, avoid further losses to scammers and improve the reliability of pension data, so that accurate past records and a reliable dashboard will be more quickly and readily achieved. Put All Pension Transfers on hold…

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    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension scam risks increase with people at home and markets in meltdown.   More people likely to be caught by cold-calling or online scammers.  Urgent Regulatory action and early warning systems required to improve consumer protection. Parliamentarians support new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams.  More people at home gives more easy targets for fraudsters: As more people are forced to stay at home during the current coronavirus crisis and investment markets have plunged, the risks of cold-calling criminals or…

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    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Gender Pensions Gap much worse than Gender Pay Gap. Women lose out in both State and Private pensions because of their social role. Budget could fix pension system cracks that women are falling through. Let’s close gender pensions gap and encourage women to take responsibility for their pensions. Ahead of International Women’s Day, I thought it might be timely to write about the shocking gap between men and women’s pensions, which still exists in 21st Century Britain. Women are the…

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    ABI release on pension freedoms – customers need independent guidance or advice, not a provider’s helpline

    ABI release on pension freedoms – customers need independent guidance or advice, not a provider’s helpline

    ABI report confirms that the pensions industry needs to do more to ensure customers are properly informed and protected.   Pension provider helplines are no substitute for impartial, independent guidance and advice.   Pension Schemes Bill offers an opportunity for Government to introduce requirements for better customer protection against premature or fraudulent transfers.   First line of defence would see providers ask relevant questions to help identify scams. Second line of defence would be ensuring people have impartial guidance or…

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    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Removing higher rate tax relief from pensions is a lose-lose proposition which helps nobody and hurts millions.  Reforming pension incentives is enormously complicated and Treasury should beware of unintended consequences. Recent changes to Pension Allowances designed to reduce pension tax relief for higher earners  fuelled an NHS crisis, showing the dangers of chasing political headlines and short-term cost saving. Government should not be undermining saving incentives when debt is already at record levels.  Any reform of tax relief should improve…

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