Industry needs greater W&P Secretary stability to progress

The pension industry needs greater stability in the position of Work and Pensions (W&P) Secretary to drive initiative and investment, Altus principal consultant, Will Watling has said.

Speaking to Pensions Age, Watling explained that a long-standing W&P Secretary has the time to grasp the necessary understanding in pensions to give the industry the confidence to innovate.

“If the minister knows about the challenges in pensions, and if the industry has confidence with that individual, it opens up initiative, investment, ideas and information flow,” he stated.

“It [the industry] may be more prepared to invest time and effort than if they think there will be change of minister in six months.”

Since Iain Duncan Smith’s departure as W&P Secretary in March 2016, there have been another six people in the role, which has been described as a “revolving door” and “poisoned chalice” by others in the industry.

The current W&P Secretary is Thérèse Coffey, who was appointed on 8 September following the resignation of Amber Rudd.

Watling added: “Pensions are long term, so you need a long-term plan and long-term stability.”

He argued that progress can be stifled if companies are not certain that it will be the same minister in the position for the foreseeable future, and it can cause initiatives to be pushed back, such as the pensions dashboard.

Additionally, Watling believed that there could be scope for increased cross-party work on pensions issues to help improve progress.

“It may be there more stability and cross-party direction is needed for the important issues,” he concluded.

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