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Many people hold their pension savings largely in cash during drawdown and may lose out to inflation and return as a consequence. These concerns are driving important new rules for investment pathway solutions for pensions drawdown that come into force in only a few weeks. In theory, the new rules will help customers maximise retirement benefits.
Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) and the alternative Governance Advisory Arrangements (GAAs) already provide independent oversight and governance to some firms offering workplace pension schemes, assessing the value for money of employees’ pension savings as they are being built up. The new rules mean the decumulation of those savings now needs to be analysed with the findings reported in the annual chair’s statement.
What are the new duties?
From 6 April 2020, pension providers who offer non-advised drawdown to retail customers must establish an IGC or (where appropriate) a GAA, if one is not already in place. Then, from 1 August 2020, they will need to offer default investment solutions to non-advised pension customers entering drawdown. For each of the four investment pathway objectives set out in the FCA’s ‘Retirement Outcomes Review’ policy statement (PS19/21), providers will need to offer a default solution with the aim of ensuring the best outcome for each pathway.
IGCs and GAAs are required to assess whether:
Providers must also supply customers with an annual statement that sets out the appropriateness of each pathway solution to enable individuals to understand the risk and reward characteristics of their chosen investment pathway decision.
What is the purpose of the new rules?
The FCA’s aim is to ensure non-advised customers choose investment solutions that are better aligned to their retirement objectives. By doing so, customers should achieve better retirement outcomes. A key part of this is to ensure drawdown customers do not invest or remain invested in cash unless they have made an informed decision to do so. The requirement for the clear presentation of charges in communication material aims to help customers understand how much they are paying, as well as promoting market competition resulting in lower charges.
The timescale to comply with the new rules on the governance and oversight of investment pathway solutions is short. From work we’re doing at the moment we know many workplace pension providers are taking action to make sure they’re on the right track to compliance. If you’re not, you need to.
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