General Election 2015

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The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) welcomed Ros Altmann as the new Minister of State (Minister for Pensions) this week as the UK reacts to Prime Minister David Cameron’s ministerial appointments following the Conservatives majority victory in last week’s General Election.

The NAPF represent over 1,300 pension schemes that provide pensions for over 17 million people and have more than £900 billion of assets. Joanne Segars, the organisation’s Chief Executive, said:

“Pensions were a hot topic during the General Election campaign and will no doubt continue to be of interest in the coming Parliament. Pensions are also a complex topic where seemingly minor changes have major ramifications.”

Pension reform has perhaps been a hot topic all year. Recent pension reforms have included that, from April this year, savers over the age of 55 have the option of taking a number of smaller lump sums, instead of one single big lump sum, with 25% of each sum tax-free.

“It’s less than two months since the hard work of our industry helped ensure the biggest reforms in decades to the pensions system were implemented in what seemed record time. We’ve weathered the first wave but that was just the start – there’s much more to do to make sure savers’ interests are kept safe in the wake of the flood of recent reforms.”

Altmann, a former advisor to Tony Blair, was thought to have been intended for a finance-related ministerial role, but has been appointed Minister for Pensions after Steve Webb, in the role during the last Parliament, failed to hold his seat in the General Election. Joanne Segars appears to welcome the appointment:

“We are looking forward to working with Dr Altmann. We want to share our expertise to negotiate the tough challenges that lie ahead – some of which may require difficult decisions. We encourage the Minister to consider the benefits an independent commission would offer. By providing impartial and independent expertise and analysis a commission would allow the Minister to make policy that stands the test of time.”