Consumer Panel urges Government and regulator to put consumers at the heart of pensions reform

The Financial Services Consumer Panel has today published its response to the government’s consultation paper 'Freedom and Choice in Pensions'. The Panel’s response can be found here.

.Sue Lewis, Consumer Panel Chair, said:

"Consumers have been badly served by the annuities market, so greater choice is potentially a good thing. But we have urged the FCA to be vigilant - product innovation will not necessarily be to the benefit of consumers. It is good news that the regulator has extended its market review of retirement income products to cover new products in development. Consumers have always had complex decisions to make coming up to retirement and the reforms have, at a stroke, increased that complexity. Getting the proposed guidance service right will be crucial. We believe that it should be delivered by independent experts, working to high standards. To build trust, it should be sales free, and independent of providers, who may have vested interests."

Notes to editors

  1. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services Act 2012. It was initially established by the Financial Servicse Authority in December 1998. The panel advises the FCA on the interests and concerns of consumers.
  2. The Panel's membership is drawn from a broad range of backgrounds with expertise including market research, law, financial services industry, financial inclusion, European Regulation, financial regulation, consumer advice, campaigning, communications, compliance and later-life issues.
  3. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FCA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FCA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available here.