Advisers must be wondering if they will ever see a sensible pensions policy emerge again. Chancellor Philip Hammond has ruled out scrapping the tapered annual allowance when speaking to MPs about the situation regarding NHS pensions and doctors taking early retirement.
It is not a statement welcomed by advisers nor the pension industry and suggests that whatever is offered to consultants and GPs, it may lead not to wholesale reform but an NHS-specific solution though it is still difficult to imagine how that could work and be fair.
Some 600 adviser firms have signed up to the PFS’s new transfer advice standard. That is a lot of firms. Going to be very interesting to see if it really improves standards. But as an initiative it must surely be applauded.
The MPs on the Work and Pensions Select Committee are ready to propose a contingent charging ban according to chairman Frank Field. Opinion across the industry may divide as it clearly wouldn’t solve all issues. It doesn’t mean a ban is inevitable, yet it may put pressure on the FCA to bring in more changes.
The Plumbing and Mechanical Services defined benefit scheme is to close to new accruals in June after 40 years. Professional Pensions describes the scheme as beleaguered. It has a huge number of members - 35,000.
The Treasury has set up an independent investigation into London Capital & Finance appointing a former Court of Appeal judge Dame Elizabeth Gloster, a financial fraud specialist, to examine what happened and regulation of the firm. It is expected that the investigation will last 12 months. However the Treasury is also separately to consider extending mini-bond regulation.
As if to show the need for action, the High Court has wound up Asset Backed Management, a promotions firm that received commissions of between 27.5% and 40% to market mini-bonds. Just the commission alone sounds as if they were defying gravity.