The Treasury Select Committee has announced it will conduct a short enquiry into the design of a National Pension Savings Scheme (NPSS) and the role of financial services regulation in the Spring.
The TSC says it will look at a number of factors surrounding the NPSS and its alternatives as proposed by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), the Investment Management Association (IMA) and the Pensions Reform Group.
The Committee says it will expect to consider certain matters relating to the feasibility of a NPSS, but will be aiming to report its findings at an early stage and if possible ahead of the White Paper, and therefore the Committee will not be looking at any of the wider issues arising from the Turner report.
But the Committee’s timetable for the inquiry could be thrown into confusion, as it is asking for written evidence to be submitted by 3pm on 30 March, with evidence sessions to be held in the latter part of April, when the White Paper on Pensions Reform is scheduled for release, according to the ABI, in May.
This comes at the same time as industry sources claim the decision has already been made by the Department for Work and Pensions to go ahead with Turner’s version of the NPSS - leaving the National Pensions Debate as nothing more a PR exercise - so the point of such an inquiry could be called into question. (See IFAonline story - Analysis: Pensions White Paper WILL be Turner's NPSS)
However despite this, the Treasury Select Committee says while the Work and Pensions Select Committee undertakes a wider scale, long-term inquiry into the proposals from the Pensions Commission, it will be looking at a number of issues surrounding the design of a NPSS or its equivalent. They are:
- Factors affecting the operational costs resulting from the proposal of a NPSS and the timing of any Government or regulatory decisions relating to these costs;
- Approaches to the regulation of a NPSS and the possible role of the Financial Services Authority (FSA);
- The roles to be played by the FSA and the Treasury in taking forward measures from the NPSS, and
- Lessons for the design and implementation of a NPSS learned from the regulation of, and decisions on, charge caps for stakeholder pensions.
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