Being relatively new to the pensions game, I have to admit I was expecting summer to be nice and relaxing, as with parliament in recess I thought news emerging would be limited.
How wrong could I be?
Barely have the MPs gone on their hols than the Public Administration and Treasury Select Committee start churning out pension reports, the DWP starts publishing research into personal accounts and the HMRC issues amendments and clarification to A-Day legislation closing unseen loopholes.
Doesn’t anybody in pensions take time off? And on top of this James Purnell, the pensions minister is not only writing his own personal blog and travelling round the country on his ‘secret summit’ tour, but is also finding the time to slip in the odd interview divulging the latest plans for personal accounts.
According to Purnell, who seems to be the DWP’s only spokesman at the moment, (which is a point - where is Hutton? Has he been locked in a Westminster dungeon until he designs a perfect Npss, is he taking time out on a beach somewhere, or as he’s the new boy has Hutton dumped - sorry delegated - to Purnell all the work which just happens to take place over the summer?)
Sorry I digress, as I was saying the latest development in the world of Npss/personal accounts is the “delivery authority”.
The idea is to bring in industry experts as soon as possible, with the DWP looking to recruit people in 2007 before the legislation on personal accounts has gone through parliament.
The government believes there are things which can be set up now, to ensure a smooth transition when power is handed over to a permanent governance arrangement with the ‘authority’ responsible for setting up accounts, organising collections, dealing with complaints and handing out contracts for private sector operations such as fund management.
However, the 'powers that be' hastened to point out the idea is not “set in stone” and neither does it mean the industry model has been chosen. Apparently, Purnell was just “floating” the idea, presumably to see how people react to the idea of a model with a strong industry influence.
Unfortunately, as the process of selection is still “ongoing”, we will just have to wait until the autumn - definitely after September, (when the consultation closes) to find out whether Purnell’s “floating” was a sneak preview or merely a red herring!
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7968 4558 or email [email protected]IFAonline
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