UK - James Purnell, the Minister for Pensions Reform, has welcomed the findings of the Thornton review - despite a lack of support from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) about proposals to merge the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) and Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Paul Thornton, a former President of the Institute of Actuaries, was appointed to carry out the review in January 2007.
Among its recommendations, the report called on the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) and Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to be combined.
However, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) escaped falling victims of a merger.
Thornton also felt the Pension Advice Service should remain in its current role despite the PO/FOS merger.
James Purnell said: “We intend to fully implement his proposals and are working with the institutions and stakeholders to develop practical proposals to ensure the framework continues to support current and future pensioners.”
Responding to the Thornton Review of Pensions Institutions, Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s Director General, said:
“Paul Thornton's recommendations, including the establishment of a new Pensions Institutions Forum, will be valuable in helping to achieve greater coordination of the pensions institutions.
"We agree that that the Pensions Regulator should be given responsibility for overseeing the Personal Accounts Board. This would help to ensure that there is a level regulatory playing field for Personal Accounts and the existing private pensions market.
“However, we do not support proposals to merge the Pensions Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service. The two bodies have distinct remits and significant differences in their approach. Rather than merging, the two bodies should concentrate on improving the handling of their existing cases.”
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