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Board to scrutinise workplace pension schemes

THE Office of Fair Trading has confirmed it will not refer workplace pension schemes to the Competition Commission but to the scrutiny of a high-powered independent board.

The OFT reported last September on how older-established pension schemes with £30 billion of savings "may not be achieving value for money by the standards of modern defined contribution workplace pension schemes". It also identified around £10bn of savings in smaller trust-based schemes.

That followed a report by the OFT begun in early 2013 in response to concerns older schemes could be used for auto-enrolment and trigger excessive charges.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreed to undertake an audit of these schemes, overseen by an Independent Project Board (IPB). Now the OFT has appointed members of the IPB, including Otto Thoresen, the former Aegon UK chief executive, who heads the ABI. It will be chaired by Carol Sergeant, who previously led a Government review into simplified financial products.

Other members include Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service, David Hare, president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, Doug Taylor, a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, Andrew Warwick-Thompson an executive at the Pensions Regulator, and representatives from the Department for Work & Pensions, Financial Conduct Authority and OFT. The IPB will negotiate its terms of reference with the ABI, "agree what industry-level actions are needed", and complete its audit by the end of 2014.

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