The new pensions bill on master trusts has been welcomed by The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), but there needs to be scrutiny it says.
The bill aims to put in place a robust regulatory framework for master trusts to protect savers, but the association points to two main risks, which they have spelt out in a statement:
- it is too easy to set up a master trust and there is insufficient control over the quality and sustainability of schemes; and
- savers may lose money if a master trust fails as their funds could potentially be used to pay for the wind-up of the scheme.
Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association CEO Joanne Segars said: “Master trusts underpin the success of automatic enrolment which has seen millions of new savers join workplace pensions. Master trusts provide the considerable benefits of scale, institutional pricing and high quality governance which would otherwise be unavailable to these savers.
“We believe tighter regulation of master trusts is essential to protect savers and ensure that only good master trusts operate in the market – so we welcome the Pension Bill. It seeks to address the main issues we raised with Government earlier this year. The PLSA will closely examine the Bill, and engage with Government on the planned secondary legislation, to ensure that it is proportionate. The capital reserving and financial sustainability provisions will require particular scrutiny.
“Public confidence in automatic enrolment has been hard-won and we must retain it – stricter regulation of master trusts will help achieve this.”
Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Board member Jamie Fiveash said: “This is an important Bill that will provide the appropriate safeguards for the millions of people now saving for their retirement through master trusts. Like any piece of Government legislation it will need detailed scrutiny to ensure it works as intended, but we expect the Bill to raise standards and be a driving force in making sure savers are in better value pensions.”