Ros Altmann will be made a minister in the next Conservative government, leading a review of financial consumer protection and financial education, prime minister David Cameron has announced.
Altmann, who is currently the government’s older workers champion, will be made a Conservative peer and will be appointed minister with responsibility for financial consumer protection and financial education if the Conservative Party forms the next government.
Improving dignity and security in retirement for working people lies at the heart of the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan.
If appointed, one of her first roles will be to lead a review of financial fairness for consumers, including the consideration of charge caps for pension products, improved rights for older consumers especially in the mortgage market, promoting competition and innovation for savers and developing the Pension Wise service to offer financial education and guidance to working people at every stage of their lives. She will also review the extent to which the financial services industry works well for women.
Altmann says: “Until now, my work has focused on policy, rather than politics, but I am excited to have the opportunity to be more directly involved. For too many years, consumer rights have played second fiddle to the interests of large financial firms, but the new pension freedoms show that the Conservatives have put the interests of British savers first and that is a real game-changer.
“I passionately believe the new pension reforms, trusting people with their own money, are an essential step to helping everyone make the most of their hard-earned savings. David Cameron and George Osborne have proved to me that they want to help the many, not just the few at the top, by giving the same freedoms to everyone as were already enjoyed by the wealthiest.
“In doing so, they took on the large companies who had too often taken advantage of their customers and have paved the way for a new environment for long-term savings. The Conservatives have created the opportunity for working families to save more if and when they can, knowing they will be allowed to use the money as best suits their circumstances. That is right, but of course it will also require a change of mindset from providers and potentially further action from Government to protect consumers. It will be my job to try to ensure customers get a better deal and I am delighted to be offered the chance to do so. Charge caps, impartial financial guidance, help with financial planning, financial education at all ages, and more competition for savers’ money will all help and it will be great to have the opportunity to play a direct role in looking after the public.”
The Prime Minister said: “What we’re doing is taking the country’s leading expert on pensions, on savings, on financial education, Ros Altmann, and saying that if we’re re-elected, she’ll be at the heart of government, making sure we complete this great revolution where we’re giving people much more power to save, to access their pension, to pass their pension on to their children, because we want to create a real savings culture in our country for everybody. Not for the rich at the top, but for everybody who saves or has a pension.
“This will be good for everybody. We’ve got millions more people saving for a pension because of auto-enrolment – having an automatic pension in your workplace – so there are many more people saving. There are also great new products like the flexible ISA, a real encouragement for savings with the single tier pension, and now at the heart of government, if we’re elected, Ros Altmann – the country’s leading pensions, savings, and financial education expert to make sure that we make the most of this great revolution in favour of savings and financial security for many in our country.”