Guy Opperman reappointed as Pensions Minister

Guy Opperman has been reappointed as the Pensions and Financial Inclusion Minister following the government's cabinet reshuffle, which also saw Thérèse Coffey remain as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Commenting on his reappointment on Twitter, the minister said that he was “very pleased” and offered a “warm welcome to the newcomers being asked to serve”.

“Serving as a minister on behalf of the elected government, the Prime Minister and Her Majesty, is genuinely a great honour, and wonderfully challenging,” he said. “I am very proud of what we have achieved so far to make pensions safer better greener."

Opperman reflected on several milestones made during his tenure as Pensions Minister so far, including the passing of the Pension Schemes Act 2021 earlier this year, which “transforms UK workplace pensions”.

Alongside this, he identified improvements in the state pension, noting that this has increased from a total cost of around £60bn and £99 per person prior to the 2010 election, to a total cost of over £100bn, with a provision between £137-£179 per person.

He also emphasised that pension power will "play a huge part in delivering net zero to the UK by 2050", stating that recent environmental, social and governance (ESG) legislation will "fundamentally" change how workplace savings are invested.

"We are the first country in the world to put the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures into law in 2021, which puts the consumer in charge," he said. "And we are the first country in the world assessing what the social impact of ESG investing is."

Opperman continued: "We are urging UK pension schemes to invest in Great Britain/Northern Ireland as COP26 approaches. This is a win-win for UK pensions: investing for growth/returns, plus the opportunity to be first in market as we create green tech, new infrastructure, and green jobs.

"And the UK pension/asset managers in London and UK can take advantage because we are both first in market, and understand the regulatory environment of ESG/TCFD more than any other country. This make the UK a destination for investment and management of funds."

Furthermore, considering the focus ahead, Opperman clarified that whilst there are two "important bills" upcoming in the House of Commons this week, there is "no doubt that COP26 will dominate the last months of 2021 and UK pensions has a massive role before, during and after the Global Environmental Summit."

"There is an exciting agenda ahead for greater financial inclusion as we work with The Money and Pensions Service (Maps), HM Treasury and third sector to provide greater access to savings, loans, financial services and bring pensions into the 21st century with simpler statements, pensions dashboards and more," he added.

Opperman has held the position as Pensions Minister since 14 June 2017, while Coffey has been in her role since 7 September 2019, with both having survived a previous reshuffle in 2020.

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