The government has today laid the groundwork to bring in new laws on pensions dashboards and give fresh powers to The Pensions Regulator.
The Queen’s speech confirmed the government’s intention to legislate to force pension schemes to provide data for the dashboard scheme.
This will eventually allow people to keep track of funds accumulated in various pots over a lifetime of working.
Queen Elizabeth said: “To help people plan for the future, measures will be brought forward to provide simpler oversight of pension savings.”
Chris Curry, principal director of the Pensions Dashboards Industry Delivery Group at the government’s Money and Pensions Service, said: “This is a crucial next step towards the goal of delivering trusted dashboard services to help savers get information about all their pension pots in one online place of their choosing.
“As the details are worked out, it’s time for pension schemes, providers and their administrators to ensure they’re making plans for how their schemes will be ready to feed into the dashboards of the future.”
The government hopes to bring in new legislation to make it a criminal offence to commit willful or grossly reckless behaviour when in charge of a pension scheme.
The Pensions Regulator, the industry watchdog, will also get new powers to disqualify company directors and introduce new punitive fines.
“To protect people savings for later life, new laws will provide greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes,” the Queen added.
However, pension consolidators, or so-called superfunds, were given no new primary legislation, in what some parts of the industry called a missed opportunity.
With no new statutory framework, the Pensions Regulator will now have to improvise a regulatory regime within its existing powers.
Policy director at Royal London and former pensions minister Steve Webb said superfunds had been “left in regulatory limbo”.
Alistair Russell-Smith of Hymans Robertson added: “It’s disappointing that legislation for defined benefit consolidation has been left off parliament’s legislative agenda.
“It’s clear that commercial consolidator transactions could get more cash into schemes, improving funding levels and member security and reducing the burden on the Pension Protection Fund.
“However, in the continuing absence of an authorisation regime for providers, it’s likely that some transactions will continue to stall, slowing the growth of this market.”
Samantha Brown, head of pensions at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, said: “The industry will welcome the long-awaited announcement of a new Pensions Bill in today’s Queen’s speech.
“However, given the current political climate it is uncertain whether the Bill will ever see the light of day, let alone make it on to the statute books.”