News from the House of Commons this week that a number of amendments to the latest pension’s legislation were voted down by MP’s. The news took some by surprise given that it had seemed that most business was off the parliamentary agenda due to focus on the pandemic, however it seems not.
Two particular amendments were rejected.
The first would have seen all pension scheme members receiving a mandatory offer of an appointment with Pension Wise the Governments pension guidance service and that the offer would go out five before members were able to access their pensions. The idea seemed to be well intentioned because it is important that people receive pension advice before accessing their pensions, but the wording of the amendments was unclear by all accounts and there was uncertainty about whether Pension Wise could cope with the level of appointments that would be generated. It is expected that the amendment will be revisited in the coming months and reconsidered.
The second amendment was also rejected. This one attempted to put measures in place to reduce the number of pension scams by giving pension trustees the ability to block transfers where they suspected a scam. Once again however it was thought that the proposals were not thought through. Pension Trustees didn’t want the obligation to identify suspected scams on top of their existing duties and it was suggested that they should be able to defer the suspicions to another body for investigation, perhaps someone like Action Fraud. It is expected that this amendment will also come back to the table as it’s in everyone’s interests to create legislation to crack down on pension scams.
It’s important that Pension Experts like ourselves are kept informed about proposed legislative changes, even the ones that aren’t implemented, because its vital that we are kept informed.