Statement of policy intent on impartial pension guidance rules expected

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, has confirmed that a statement of policy intent in relation to the impartial guidance rules covered by Clauses 18 and 19 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 will be published "shortly".

The statement is expected to outline how the government plans to implement the stronger nudge, as outlined in section 19 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act, for occupational pensions.

The comments, made in response to a written question from Conservative MP Christian Wakeford, also confirmed the government plans to consult on draft regulations following this, which will come into force “at the earliest opportunity”.

He added: “We are working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who will consult on rules for personal and stakeholder pensions, which will also come into force at the earliest opportunity.”

In response to a second question from Wakeford, Opperman also confirmed that the government has no intention to set a target for the number of Pension Wise guidance sessions, or the number of members accessing pension savings in a given period who receive Pension Wise guidance.

However, he clarified that the government will continue to monitor the use of of advice and guidance when accessing pension savings, and "take further action to encourage their use if appropriate".

Opperman explained that this is one of a "number of measures" aimed at increasing awareness of Pension Wise, alongside advertising campaigns and engagement with employers on both a national and local scale.

He stated: "We want to increase awareness of Pension Wise guidance, present taking guidance as a natural part of the customer journey, and make it easier to book an appointment.

“Based on the results of the stronger nudge trials, we would expect that implementation of the nudge would lead to an increase in the take up of Pension Wise guidance."

Opperman recently confirmed that a total of 79,967 bookings for a Pension Wise guidance session were made between March 1st and October 2020, noting that a "collaborative approach" between regulatory bodies has been used to communicate the guidance options with savers.

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