The UK pensions minister has confirmed that the charge cap on defined contribution (DC) auto-enrolment schemes will come into force a year later than expected.
Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual pensions conference, pensions minister Steve Webb said the recent consultation had forced the government decision.
“There are number of aspects of DC scheme quality, and we consulted on a range of them,” Webb said. “In the consultation, there was a view that changing the rules at 12 weeks’ notice didn’t quite stack up. I think that is a fair comment. That’s why the changes we will make will be in 2015.”
The consultation focused on aspects of auto-enrolment DC schemes including governance, transparency and a cap on charges.
Webb said the new rules would come into effect for schemes staging after April 2015, but he added that the government would “flesh out the details” for those already staged.
The Liberal Democrat MP said it would be irrational to focus on value for money for those that have staged to the detriment of those that have not.
He also rebuffed claims from the government opposition that the decision to delay was a U-turn on policy.
Labour spokesman for pensions, Gregg McClymont, recently said government ministers seemed to be in “full-scale retreat” on the charges debate after failing to act sooner.
The government had been expected to impose a cap on the charge DC providers can place on auto-enrolment schemes by April this year.
At the CBI conference, Webb said: “The principle of regulated quality is absolute. We have got to tackle charges, but do it at a rational schedule.”
He further stressed that what the government would set out in 2015 would be a “complete package” of DC reforms.
Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the CBI, welcomed the delay.
He said the members of the lobby attempting to stage this year had voiced concerns over the lack of clarity in government policy.