UK – Robin Ellison, the chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds, has lambasted MPs as part of a wide-ranging critique of the UK’s pension policy apparatus.
He also called for the abolishment of the Pension Protection Fund, the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman.
He said there should be personal liability for members of parliament, in the same way as for trustees – with MPs having to pay for their mistakes out of their own pockets.
“If trustees make bad decisions there’s a personal downside. I don’t think MPs should get away with it any more.” He said MPs should be trained in pensions and even suggested they should be “named and shamed” over their voting records on pensions.
The political process “may have worked two or three hundred years ago but everyone in this room knows it doesn’t work in pensions”. The political process was “deeply” flawed.
Ellison, a pensions lawyer who took over at the NAPF in May, was speaking at accounting firm Horwath Clark Whitehill’s annual pensions lecture last night.
He said: “We don’t need a regulator, the PPF or a pensions ombudsman.” Of the PPF he said: “We know long-term it’s not stable.”
PPF chairman Lawrence Churchill was not able to respond directly to Ellison’s comments, although he did support the idea of less complex regulation (see separate story).
Ellison revealed the NAPF is currently drafting how it thinks occupational pensions legislation should look, which follows its work on the Citizen’s Pension. The new proposals, designed to generate debate, should be out in about a month, he told IPE.
He was highly critical of the quality of parliamentary drafting of pensions legislation and the fact that no one in government takes responsibility. “The buck should stop somewhere,” he said. “We need to develop the policy before we develop legislation.”
He was scathing about the length and complexity of UK pension and taxation regulations, which he said compared badly with the brevity of the European pensions directive.*