The UK’s main pension fund body has warmly welcomed the pensions minister indicating the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would next year launch a call for evidence on supporting savers in trust-based workplace pensions when it comes to accessing their savings.

In the area of contract-based pension schemes, the financial markets regulator has introduced a series of investment pathways that consumers are required to allocate to, but there is no parallel in the trust-based sector.

Asked about this during a work and pensions committee yesterday, pensions minister Guy Opperman said the issue was on DWP’s radar and that it would be launching a call to evidence next year, probably in the spring.

His senior policy lead, Pete Searle, said the call to evidence would go beyond the topic of investment pathways.

Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said Opperman’s comments were “a really positive step”.

In its submission to the work and pensions committee inquiry into pension freedoms, the PLSA called for a new set of product, communication and governance standards, underpinned by legislation, to pave the way for pension providers to give greater support to savers at retirement.

It has previously spoken about the need for a “bridge” between the auto-enrolment system that uses the power of inertia to get people into pension saving, and the complex decisions they must make at retirement.

“Workplace pension schemes already want to be major part of the solution,” said Peaple. “Our proposals – called Guided Retirement Income Choices – are designed to complement the Pension Freedoms and are not designed to replace any other existing regulatory approaches or guidance services, but rather to build on them to develop blended solutions that are more appropriate for future retirees.

“We very much look forward to participating in the planned call for evidence and to continuing our discussions with the work and pension select committee about our recommendations.”

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