Govt urged to provide member support in McCloud response

Millions of public sector scheme members could require “a great deal of support” on their pension options, should the government pursue a 'immediate choice' response to the McCloud judgement, Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP) has warned.

In response to the ongoing government consultation around the potential options in response to the court ruling, LCP has argued in favour of giving scheme members an immediate choice, stressing that a 'deferred choice underpin' option could mean that matters are not finally resolved for many decades.

The firm stated that an immediate choice proposal would provide a “once-and-for all” resolution to the issue, rather than requiring schemes to operate a dual records system for “decades to come”.

Furthermore, it stressed that this would also mean that member communications, including on the pension dashboards, would be on the basis of a single, definite set of benefits, rather than reflecting alternative possible outcomes.

However, it acknowledged that whilst this option would give members certainty, rather than having to rely on a future government to honour their promise, the decision as to which scheme to be part of between 2015/16 and 2021/22 may not be straightforward.

Considering this, the firm has called on the government to ensure that members are given "considerable guidance" to support them in their decision making.

It also noted that in some of the most complex cases, such as high-earning NHS staff, would "almost certainly" require tailored financial advice to take into account the tax implications of their choice.

LCP partner, Luke Hothersall, stated: “Letting members choose the best scheme for them now would have the advantage of resolving this messy business once and for all, rather than running dual records for decades to come.

“But that choice is not a simple one for many members. If the government were to go down the immediate choice route, it is vital that this is accompanied by a meaningful level of guidance and support.

“This should include online modelling tools and, for those with the most complex circumstances, access to regulated financial advice”.

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