PLSA to maintain pensions adequacy focus in 2023

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has said that expanding the scope and level of automatic enrolment will be its top strategic policy objective in 2023, alongside six additional regulatory policy areas of focus.

Announcing the updated policy objectives, the PLSA emphasised that it has been consistently calling on the government to improve pension adequacy for savers through targeted policy interventions for several years.

In particular, the association highlighted its 2022 consultation, Five Steps to Better Pensions, which outlined a number of reforms to help more savers achieve a better retirement income and prevent pensioner poverty.

Following on from this, the PLSA confirmed that it will publish its response to its consultation, alongside additional evidence on the need for reform, “later this year”.

In addition to the strategic priority of pension adequacy, the PLSA outlined six additional regulatory policy areas of focus, including helping the industry prepare for pension dashboards, responding to the proposals around the Defined Benefit (DB) Funding Code, and supporting responsible investment and stewardship efforts.

This was alongside defined contribution (DC) decumulation and DC value for money, with plans to campaign for the adoption of the PLSA's Guided Retirement Income Choices (GRIC) proposals as part of this.

The Local Government Pension Scheme was another area of regulatory focus, as the PLSA outlined plans to "spearhead" policy and research initiatives to help mitigate the major issues and challenges facing the short-term operation and long-term sustainability of the LGPS.

In addition to these targeted priorities, the PLSA confirmed that it will undertake a wide range of other policy work, including responding to government consultations or statements.

This includes work with the Association of British Insurers to deliver the ‘Pay Your Pension Some Attention’ campaign, as well as plans to update the Retirement Living Standards to ensure they accurately reflect the public’s expectations of what retired households need.

Commenting on the priorities for 2023, PLSA Policy Board chair, John Chilman, stated: “All of our members – whether they are a DB or DC fund, a LGPS fund, or a master trust – are passionate about ensuring the UK pension savings system gives people the best possible chance of saving what they need to enjoy the retirement they want.

“As the PLSA celebrates its 100th birthday, the PLSA Policy Board will continue to champion a policy framework that means people will have an adequate income in retirement and aim to ensure the regulatory and operating environment is appropriate for our members.”

PLSA director of policy and advocacy, Nigel Peaple, also warned that the year ahead will be "another busy one", emphasising that the PLSA has both a proactive and reactive agenda for 2023.

"On the former, we will continue to make the case for our reform of the UK pension system – ‘Five Steps to Better Pensions – to update the Retirement Living Standards, and to lobby for the adoption of our decumulation proposals – ‘Guided Retirement Income Choices’," he stated.

"And on the reactive work, we are already occupied on the review of the DB funding code and the implementation of pensions dashboards, and expect to respond to at least a further dozen initiatives during the year.”

The PLSA's policy priorities are reviewed annually by the PLSA Policy Board, which has responsibility for setting the policy agenda and ensuring the PLSA is tackling the issues that matter most to its members.

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