Editor’s view: The short-term perils of a long-term pensions brand refresh

Volatile markets, increased trans­parency and a complex at-retirement landscape are just some of the factors likely to land pensions in the headlines in the coming years.

Criticism of parts of the industry may be justifiable. But we can also expect some of the accusations laid at the industry’s door to be both misinformed and ill founded.

At the same time, political pressure may squeeze costs further and further, with the review of the charge cap just a year away.

Yet too much focus on cost can arguably increase risks further down the line, threatening worse outcomes.
These dynamics ask a number of questions of the fast-evolving pensions system.

How big is the risk that radical cost-cutting through charge caps could result in negative outcomes for individuals, in turn resulting in more people disengaging from the long-term savings strategies they so desperately need?

What impact will increased transparency, IGCs and value-for-money assessments have on the debate around charges and investment strategy?

Where are accusations of ‘rip-off pensions’ justifiable and where are they confusing price with value?

Do more expensive pension investment solutions deliver returns that justify their extra cost?

And what factors should next year’s review of the charge cap consider when determining the direction and level of future controls?

These are just some of the issues discussed by our panel of industry experts in this special supplement coverage of last month’s roundtable debate: What Price Quality Pensions? Challenging Myths, Rebuilding Trust.

Engagement with pensions is being rebuilt but, in light of these ongoing risks, employers, advisers, providers and other stakeholders need to shape the debate to ensure that trust continues to grow and a genuine savings culture is fostered.