Work and Pensions Committee to quiz Opperman on pension freedoms

Written by Natalie Tuck

The Work and Pensions Committee will quiz Pensions Minister Guy Opperman on the pension freedoms tomorrow, 15 November.

The Committee will also question Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, as well as The Pensions Regulator’s executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish, The Financial Conduct Authority’s director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard and the Department for Work and Pensions’s director of private pensions and arm’s length bodies Charlotte Clark.

The participants will be questioned on the operation of pension freedoms and the way the changing face of scams can be tackled. The Committee will explore the range of ways of improving the advice and guidance offer, and increasing uptake of it.

It will also discuss plans for the forthcoming pensions dashboard and options to improve outcomes for disengaged savers such as the FCA’s proposed default investment pathway.

“Defined benefit transfer requests are surging, but advice is too often unsuitable or unavailable. There is evidence people are increasingly being convinced to transfer their pension into unsuitable - but often not illegal - products or investments, putting their retirement plans and financial security at risk, or being hit with high charges,” the Committee said.

Furthermore, the Committee has written to Guy Opperman with new questions it expects answers to ahead of the session, including details of the government’s plans for a ban on cold-calling to prevent scams.

This includes whether the government has completed any analysis of what impact a cold-calling ban would have, specifically whether the government has looked at the number of people exposed to pensions cold-calling and by what number would a ban reduce the figure.

It has also asked for details on the Data Sharing and Monitoring Group and how much is being spent on advertising the government’s Pension Wise guidance service, and how it compares to spending on the auto-enrolment campaign.

The Committee will also be publishing correspondence with TPR on the stats it has on the true scale of pensions scams. The session will begin at 9:25am in Committee Room 15 in the Palace of Westminster:

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