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Almost £10bn was transferred out of defined benefit pensions in the final quarter of 2019, according to official data.

Wealth manager and SIPP provider Charles Stanley has appointed former Brown Shipley chief executive Ian Sackfield as managing director, investment management services (branches) to lead the firm’s 20 regional offices.

Mr Sackfield, who was rival Brown Shipley’s CEO for nine years, will have responsibility for driving business development and productivity, as well as branch oversight. 

He will join the firm’s executive committee and will report to head of investment management services, Peter Kelk.

The role is newly created and is based in Manchester.


Mr Sackfield has over 20 years’ board-level experience in financial services, including in a client-facing role as client director for over 18 months. 

Mr Kelk said: “Our recent financial results show the division is performing well, and this appointment reflects our continued commitment to our branch network outside of London. 

“Ian will provide the overarching, dedicated focus needed to guide it through a fast-changing commercial landscape. In his role, both as an ExCo member and head of the branches, he brings the depth of leadership, management and client facing experienced required.  I am delighted that he has chosen Charles Stanley for the next stage of his career and to welcome him to the team.”

Mr Sackfield said: “Charles Stanley has a long track record and a reputation for innovation and delivering high levels of personalised, customer service.  It has a strategy that is clearly delivering and is at an exciting stage of its transformation programme.  I am looking forward to being part of its clear growth trajectory and playing a part by contributing in a significant way.”

Pension group XPS has reported flat profits for the 12 months ending 31 March at £11.4m but remains positive about the year ahead.

Britain has dropped down the rankings of the best European countries for retirees in 2020.

The FCA wants improvements in the ‘value for money’ members of workplace pensions and some SIPPs receive.

The regulator has today launched a Consultation Paper on changes that may be needed to ensure workplace pensions scheme members get a better deal.

The launch follows a review which suggested some governance committees were “ineffective” in challenging firms to ensure value for money in workplace schemes.

Following the review the Consultation Paper has been brought forward.

The  Consultation Paper CP20/9 looks at ways to make workplace pensions better value for money.

The watchdog says its proposals aim to make it easier for Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) and Governance Advisory Arrangements (GAAs) to compare the value for money of pension products and services.

This should enable them to be “more effective” in assessing value for pension scheme members.

IGCs oversee the value for money of workplace personal pensions provided by firms like life insurers and some SIPP operators.

They provide independent oversight of workplace personal pensions in accumulation  and will oversee the investment pathway solutions that will have to be offered from 1 February 2021. IGCs act on behalf of consumers who are likely to be “uninvolved or less engaged” with their pension savings, says the FCA.

The FCA review found that:

  • Some IGCs lack the necessary independence and were ineffective at challenging firms to ensure value for money for workplace pension scheme members
  • Those IGCs which maintained independence from the firms whose pension schemes they had responsibility for delivered better outcomes for pension scheme members
  • GAAs operated by third-party firms on behalf of pension providers were less effective at delivering meaningful improvements in value for money
  • Over the period of the review (2017-2019) the FCA found there had been a “small reduction” in charges across all pension savings, although this has not been directly linked to IGCs and GAAs.

Megan Butler, FCA executive director of supervision - Investment, Wholesale and Specialists, said: “This Consultation Paper will help to ensure that pension scheme members are getting value for money.

“Our separate review into IGCs and GAAs lays out the key lessons that need to be learned to ensure that workplace pension holders get a fair deal.

“The FCA has carefully considered these findings and is asking firms that do not meet our requirements to make improvements.”

Overall, the FCA found that a number of IGCs were working well to provide value for money for their members however, a lack of consistency in the way they operate meant that members of some workplace pension schemes may not be receiving value for money.

The FCA has sent feedback letters to firms to ensure they make improvements to the way they work with their IGC or GAA.

The Consultation Paper has a deadline of 24 September and includes proposals for a framework for the annual IGC and GAA value for money assessment process, including a definition of value for money and three key elements of value for IGCs to use when conducting their assessments.

 • The Consultation Paper and the Thematic Review.

The Pensions Dashboards Programme, the initiative backed by the government's Money and Pensions Service, has launched a six week consultation with potential suppliers who will tasked with bringing the project to life. 

The companies will supply the digital engine which will make long-awaited Pensions Dashboards work.

The PDP also plans an industry-wide call in July and August for input on the data scope and data definitions published in working papers in April.

The consultation was delayed in April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The programme has also entered the next stage of the process to build technology to enable savers to view all their pensions via their chosen dashboard.

The six-week consultation period will enable the programme to look at the readiness, capacity and capability of tech firms that might be interested in the work.

It is in preparation for a formal procurement process anticipated to start in the autumn.

The programme has also said it will convene a Data Working Group representing all sectors of the pensions industry. The group will help finalise a set of data standards later this year.

Chris Curry, principal of the Pensions Dashboards Programme at MAPS, said: “The pensions industry faced significant challenges as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdown.

"Firms were rightly focused on day-to-day operations and the immediate needs of their customers – but while that was going on, the Pensions Dashboards Programme has continued its work towards delivering the technology that will enable individuals to see all of their pensions information online, securely and all in one place.

 “We know the sector has responded well to the current crisis and there is enthusiasm to engage once again in the important detail of delivering Pensions Dashboards. We are now making good progress on a number of fronts and are ready to shape detailed data requirements with the help of the industry while also starting engagement with the tech firms which will help us build the dashboard ecosystem.

“The concept behind Pensions Dashboards is simple but there are still complicated technical and regulatory hurdles to overcome. The work of the next few months will be significant in helping us develop a timeline for the delivery of these services.”

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