Tomorrow we should see the next phase of the government's plans to reform financial services in the interests of consumers, when the Queen delivers her annual Opening of State Parliament speech.
This year, there are expected to be two key developments as the Pensions Bill and the Legal Services Bill are the starting blocks for the implementation of proposed changes.
Most importantly, for example, it should signal the government’s intention to restoring the earnings link for the basic State pension, as well as proposals to raise the State pensions age to 68 by 2044 and introduce a ‘Delivery Authority’ for the national pensions savings scheme.
In short, everything about pensions this industry has talked about for the last year and the contents of the DWP’s pensions white paper will shift towards become established policy.
What will be interesting to see, however, is exactly how much the government feels it can implement at this stage, given the Royal Assent of a bill can take some time, and we’re all anticipating a new prime minister could have been sworn in before the government can get the Bill to completion. And we’re all anticipating certain elements of the proposed pensions reforms will never get past Gordon.
At the same time, announcement of the Legal Services Bill should also mean the move to regulate what we all lovingly call the ambulance chasers, or claims management companies. The aim is to ensure – as many firms already state they do anyway – such companies operate in a manner which is fair to consumers and the industry. But what is perhaps not clear just yet is what teeth the organisation monitoring claims management companies will have given we don’t really know who they are and what they will actually do until the details of the bill are revealed.
These days, we’ve come to expect the Queen’s Speech merely confirms what we generally knew – it’s just a statement of intent in the absolute basic details and we all have to wait much longer to get anything concrete.
Actually, the key event we’re all now waiting for is the pre-Budget Report – which people are predicting will be revealed on the 4th December but it’s not yet confirmed – as this should resolve the Treasury’s thinking on the ASP and will perhaps trigger the arrival of the personal accounts white paper.
Tomorrow’s pomp and circumstance are not really expected to enlighten us on any significant ideas or projects we didn’t already know about. But it will be the starting pistol for a busy few weeks which are then expected to set out the future of retirement funding.
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 Julie Henderson on 020 7968 4571 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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