Pension schemes

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:15 pm ar 9 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 2:15, 9 Ionawr 2018

The hon. Gentleman has set out a comprehensive set of reasons for supporting his amendment. He will be pleased to know that I whole- heartedly agree with many elements of what he shared with us. Both sides of the Committee agree on our enduring belief that we should ensure that sufficient transparency is available and that we should do all we can to protect the life savings—in many cases—of those who invest in any form of pension, let alone master trust schemes, some of which have fallen foul of the kind of issues that we have been debating.

Unfortunately, I cannot agree with all the hon. Gentleman’s assertions. He spoke about the importance of transparency—I have said that I agree with that—but he also said that we cannot be transparent enough. That is an important maxim to operate by, but that cannot allow us to be led into a situation where we have overly burdensome additional costs as a consequence. That is the nub of our objection to his amendment.

The amendment would bring in a duplication of the regulatory body’s function of reviewing investment plans at the time that schemes are set up. The kinds of issues that the hon. Gentleman wants to be addressed are being addressed; I would be happy to share that information with him at a future date. The Financial Conduct Authority is consulting at the moment; the consultation closes on the 12th of this month—a few short days away. We have regulations planned for April that will ensure that we look into these issues and move into the area of the publication of costs and the way these schemes are run.

Returning to the clause, I hope we are united in believing that HMRC should be given additional powers to refuse the registration of schemes where it feels that they are deficient, and to withdraw registration where that is appropriate. I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider not pressing his amendments, and commend clause 13 to the Committee.