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UK roundup: FCA, TPR, SEI

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is gearing up to launch a strategy on ageing population next year and as part of this has published “a collection of think pieces” on how financial services, including pensions, work for older consumers.

The discussion paper was launched yesterday and is the basis of a consultation the regulator launched to seek input on how older people engage with financial services, ideas for change and where regulation may need to be amended.

Tracey McDermott, acting chief executive of the FCA, said: “The number of people aged over 65 in the UK is expected to increase by 1.1m in the next five years. There is a real and urgent challenge for the financial services sector to develop new and innovative products to meet the needs of our changing population.”

One of the “think pieces” in the paper is from Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator (TPR), on what an ageing population means for traditional defined benefit schemes, and employers’ balance sheets.

She raised the question of the suitability of Dutch-style, industry-wide collective pension schemes for the UK, noted the popularity of multi-employer schemes and master trusts for employers, and also flagged interest at EIOPA in an EU framework for defined contribution occupational pensions.

Saying that the UK was “at a cross-roads”, Titcomb said it would be premature to conclude “the era of the engaged employer providing pensions for paternalistic reasons” is over.

Instead, the freedom and choice agenda in the UK “may also lead to new and innovative ways for employers to engage with their employees”.

In other news, SEI has been appointed fiduciary manager by Amey OS Pension Scheme, a £135m (€173m) defined benefit scheme split into two discrete sections.

SEI replaces the existing fiduciary manager of the Accord Section and replaces the investment consultant that had been used by the Amey Section, using a fiduciary manager for the first time.

SEI will provide strategic investment advice and full implementation of “a customised investment strategy and journey plan designed to meet the scheme’s long-term funding objectives”.

Kim Nash, sole independent trustee of the Amey Pension Scheme and a client director at PTL, said: “The Trustee made the decision to search for a fiduciary manager that would assist them with delivering a superior governance model.

“Our key requirement was a focus on delivering an enhanced investment strategy that would enable us to meet our funding goals.” 

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