Thursday 26 May 2016 12:01 am

McPhail escalates pensions transfer campaign

Hargreaves Lansdown has stepped up its campaign for a seven-day switching programme, with a letter to business secretary Sajid Javid and city minister Harriet Baldwin.

In the letter, seen by City A.M., Hargreaves Lansdown's head of retirement policy Tom McPhail calls upon the government to mandate a maximum of seven days to transfer a customer's savings, piggybacking on legislation already due to head to parliament relating to the mortgage sector.

The Better Markets Bill will include a seven-day guarantee for transferring mortgages, and McPhail has asked the government to extend the provisions to pensions savers.

“We believe that the time is right to introduce an explicit requirement for transactions to be executed within a much tighter time-frame than exists at present; ideally it should not be more than seven days. The Better Markets Bill offers a vehicle to achieve this victory for consumers,” McPhail wrote.

“A recent government consultation stopped short of recommending any form of statutory intervention to force the pace of service improvement.

“This may have been a missed opportunity, we urge you to look again at this issue and to consider whether you and your Treasury colleagues could take this opportunity to move the industry beyond today’s patchy voluntary arrangements and to put greater control and certainty in the hands of investors.”

McPhail has previously called for the pensions industry itself to lead improvements, but cautioned that government should stand ready to intervene if the industry is unable to build momentum.