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Pension Charges

Volume 568: debated on Monday 14 October 2013

We have already banned consultancy charges in automatic enrolment schemes and, in the light of the recent report by the Office of Fair Trading, we will shortly be publishing a consultation setting out plans for a cap on pension scheme charges.

It is extremely difficult for pensioners, and indeed fund trustees, to obtain accurate and timely data about transaction costs, which can have an enormous impact on fund performance. Does the Minister share my view that managers of both private and public funds should be required to publish that information?

My hon. Friend highlights the important point that we need a great deal more transparency about the many different pension scheme charges—the OFT report identified 18 different sorts of charges. We will be looking at its recommendation that the fees he refers to should be reported to governance committees, which will be best placed to act upon them.

It was the Leader of the Opposition who led the way in exposing the pension charges rip-off, only for the Minister to respond—I have the press cutting to hand—by accusing Labour 15 months ago of scaremongering. Now that the OFT has published its damning report, does he not accept that Labour was right all along and that pension charges must be tackled in a serious and timely fashion?

May I first congratulate the hon. Gentleman on keeping his post in the Labour reshuffle, which I understand was codenamed the Blair Ditch project? He says that we need to cap pension scheme charges. What I do not understand is why they were not capped at any point when Labour was in office. Why has it decided to cap them only now? The OFT did not recommend a cap on pension scheme charges. I am sure he was disappointed when he read its report, because he thought that it would. That is why we are now consulting and gathering evidence. We will act where the previous Government did not.