Caps on pension charges
“Pension savers have paid too much, for too long. It is time to put the saver first.”
The UK government has capped the fees that may be charged to members of so-called “default” retirement funds. That country is introducing a system of auto-enrolment under which employees are required to save for their retirement a total of 7 percent of their salary, to which the government adds a further 1 percent. Members may opt out of this automatic enrolment, but early signs are that many of them are not doing so. Default retirement funds are the entities to which these contributions are to be directed. They need to meet a set of qualifying conditions.
In return what amounts to a form of mandate on UK employees, the government has tightened the terms under which these funds may offer services to their members. And that’s where the charge cap comes in. It has been set at an annual limit of 0.75% of assets. This is tight, lower for example than any of South Africa’s actively managed unit trust funds and well below the corresponding charges under an RA in this country.
“Over the next 10 years, the new charge cap will transfer £200m from the profits of the pension industry to the pockets of savers.” That’s a lot of money, surely food for thought for our policymakers.