Further Pension Schemes Bill amendments tabled ahead of report stage

MPs have proposed a number of further amendments to the Pension Schemes Bill ahead of its progression to the report stage on Monday 16 November.

The amendments include mandatory pension guidance appointment scheduling, legislating for defined benefit (DB) pension superfund regulation and how pensions dashboards will operate.

Labour Party MPs proposed several amendments relating to the pensions dashboards. These amendments include ensuring that a provision for financial transactions is not included on dashboards, that information on scheme costs and charges are available, and that the operation and effectiveness of the public dashboard is reported on before commercial dashboards could operate.

Labour also proposed an amendment that would mandate occupational schemes to develop a strategy for ensuring their investments and stewardship activities are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and include an objective of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Furthermore, the party tabled an amendment that would require proposals for primary legislation to require The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to regulate for DB pension superfunds within six months of the bill achieving royal assent.

SNP MPs proposed amendments that would require dashboard providers to ensure that pension advice is available to those identified as being in vulnerable circumstances, and to ensure that users are aware of the differences between information, guidance and advice.

Work and Pensions Committee chair, Stephen Timms, re-tabled amendments, co-signed by Conservative and SNP MPs, relating to mandatory pension guidance appointments as savers near retirement and blocking transfers if scam ‘red flags’ are identified.

Speaking at a The People's Pension webinar today (12 November), Timms commented: "I’ve tabled some amendments to with support from members of other parties on my committee, and there is I think a pretty broad cross-party consensus on this.

"The amendments that I’ve tabled specifically are that the right to transfer ought not to apply in cases where the trustees or the scheme managers can tell that the transfer would go into a scam.

"At the moment they’ve got the right to insist that that transfer goes ahead and I think that it’s the case also that if the scheme delays it, the scheme can be fined, so it’s a pretty bad arrangement. We think it ought to be changed and I have tabled amendments to the bill to have that effect. However, the minister hasn’t accepted those amendments.

"But what he has done, very helpfully, is promise to bring forward regulations under existing powers in the bill to make the changes that we want. The bill is back on parliament on Monday afternoon, I have re-tabled the amendments for debate on Monday afternoon and I hope the minister will be able to give us further reassurances when we debate on Monday, but I think we are moving in a helpful direction as far as the bill is concerned."

MPs will review and vote on the amendments to the bill in the report stage, which begins on Monday 16 November.

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