New Clause 5 - Duty to act in the best interests of members

Part of Pension Schemes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 4th November 2014.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 2:45 pm, 4th November 2014

The Committee will be aware that I have given the hon. Gentleman several opportunities to tell us what the cost of his proposal to require 47,000 schemes either to find trustees—from goodness only knows where—or to merge. It is apparent that he has no idea and, frankly, that is not uncharitable. He has not got a clue what the cost of what he proposes for pension schemes. The point my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester was making was that such costs come out of members’ pensions.

The hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East said saying that people were being ripped off while investment managers were going to Monte Carlo and so on. However, he forgets that we are legislating for a charge cap. Going forward, more than 99p in the pound of what people put into their pension schemes will go into their pensions, not the scheme’s running costs. The 0.75% taken from the relatively modest contributions that someone on an average wage will put into an auto-enrolment scheme will be, in some cases, not much more than pennies. We have clamped down hugely on unnecessary costs, but any costs that he would add through his regulatory burden on tens of thousands of schemes would simply come out of members’ benefits.