Protecting pensions against scams: priorities for the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill Contents

2The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill and this report

10.The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill was introduced by the Government to the House of Lords on 22 June 2017. It received its first reading in the House of Commons on 22 November 2017. The Bill intends to:

i)merge three existing government-sponsored financial guidance services: The Money Advice Service (MAS), TPAS and Pension Wise, into a single new body; and grant that body responsibilities with regards to cold calling and debt respite;

ii)make provision for the funding of debt advice in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and

iii)transfer responsibility for the regulation of claims management companies from the Ministry of Justice to the FCA.

11.During the Bill’s passage through the Lords it was amended in an attempt to provide greater protection for consumers exercising pension freedoms. Clause 4 would permit the new guidance body to recommend a ban on pension cold calling. Clause 5(2) enables the FCA to set rules determining when a pension scheme trustee or manager must (a) ask an individual if they have received pension guidance and (b) arrange pension guidance, before enabling an individual to access to a pension pot.

12.The Bill is an opportunity to fine-tune the pension freedoms reforms to ensure that people are adequately protected and supported, particularly where they are at risk of being scammed. This report sets out our recommended changes and is accompanied by our proposed amendments. We will address other areas of our pension freedoms and choice inquiry in at least one further report.

7 December 2017