Examination of Witnesses

Part of Pension Schemes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:31 am on 23rd October 2014.

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Dominic Lindley: Not at this stage, but I think we are all relying a bit too much on the FCA to act on those things. As we have shown, with its proposals on independent governance committees, it is not imposing the kind of governance arrangements and duty to act in the best interests of consumers that most consumers need. If the FCA is not willing or able to do it, that is where the Government are going to have to step in.

At the moment, the FCA seems focused on setting standards for the guidance guarantee, which are very important. It is almost designing a leaflet to ensure take-up when it should be focusing a lot more on the regulation of insurance companies and the emergence of some alternative products. You probably will not have people being sold annuities any more. They will be sold secure income plans, which will be fixed-term annuities for a number of years and then you will get your money back. The FCA should be watching closely and reviewing every single product when it comes on to the market.

The final thing, and one that worries me, is people falling prey to scams early next year. If you search for pensions advice or guidance on Google, you will get a lot of websites where they are not actually providing you with pensions advice or guidance. All they are doing is getting you to type in your information, which is then sold on to various people. We must have additional warnings for people who fall prey to unregulated investments and scams.

Even if you go into a high street bank, if a very elderly person comes in and withdraws large amounts of cash, most staff would have been trained to ask questions about that and double-check. Those sort of policies are completely absent with insurance companies. They have never really had to think about them before. They need to do some thinking pretty quickly before next April.