Pensions - Articles - IFoA calls for long term thinking on pension reforms

Ahead of the Autumn Statement on November 22 2023, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is calling on the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, to focus on long-term thinking with a particular focus on pensions. This follows his Mansion House speech earlier this year where Hunt provided a broad overview on policy ideas to promote investment in productive finance and drive better outcomes for members and pension schemes.

 In its policy prospectus, ‘Beyond the next Parliament: The case for long-term policymaking’, the IFoA has advocated the need for long-term policy making. For a variety of reasons, policymaking has suffered from a lack of long termism for many years. In considering the outcome of the summer consultations and next steps, the priority should be to re-focus on the many issues that require a longer-term view.

 Debbie Webb, IFoA Pensions Board Chair, said: “This summer, the Government launched a raft of consultations aimed at supporting better outcomes for savers and increasing growth in the UK economy. The IFoA supports both aims but has called for more detail on the balance between boosting growth, promoting industry consolidation and protecting the interests of current pension scheme members.

 “The absence of a Pensions Bill in the King’s Speech means the Chancellor must now connect the dots and deliver his reform proposals within the Autumn Statement. For defined benefit schemes, it is important that an appropriate balance is struck between providing more flexibility and options for sponsors, while protecting the rights and security of scheme members. For members in defined contribution schemes, better access to information and wider options for decumulation at retirement are essential if longer term retirement outcomes are to be improved. There is a risk that if we do not see concrete plans and joined-up commitments now, then necessary policy reforms may remain in a regulatory limbo until well after the general election.

 “More broadly, we hope this Autumn Statement provides a strong platform for a wider pensions strategy that considers productive investment, the question around adequate saving for retirement, the sustainability of the State Pension and the triple lock amongst many other issues. The pensions sector needs stability so any changes must be able to build around a consensus that will not be unpicked following a general election.”

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