The shadow pensions minister has called for cross-party action to improve transparency on costs in pensions and regain the trust of members.
Speaking yesterday at a Transparency Task Force (TTF) symposium, Labour MP Angela Rayner also said transparency must be simple and understandable and "we must break down barriers and eliminate jargon".
She added that "washing machines are more protected than pensions" and argued customers are able to make more informed decisions when buying appliances than making savings decisions.
Around 50 asset managers, pension scheme managers, and investors attended the conference in London. Many present voiced concerns that independent governance committees are finding it difficult to gather data on transaction costs.
Rayner, who was appointed to her role in September last year, said cost transparency aligned with her values of social justice and fairness.
She said: "Cost transparency is the start of a process. I think we should be doing more and making it a Labour agenda. To me, it is about social justice."
She then warned only with increased transparency would members' trust in their schemes improve.
She said: "The government and other parliamentarians have a key role to play... to ensure we have full cost transparency, we do lead the way and that we are efficient. Our savers deserve nothing less than that - they must be central to the pensions system.
"A political consensus is absolutely vital to ensuring that and ensuring the regulation is there. Nothing should stand in the way of pensions if we are going to achieve a decent set of outcomes for scheme members and employers. People should know what they're buying and what they're paying."
Rayner's message was backed up by Conservative MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling Tom Tugendhat, who said he would work with the shadow minister to push for new regulations in parliament.
He said: "This is not just a financial question. Transparency is about social justice, capital allocation, economic growth and trust. It is a political issue."
The MP had previously raised the issue to David Cameron at a Prime Minister's Question Time in April, arguing that hidden fees can shave off as much as a third of pensions.
Cameron responded: "One of the things that saps people's enthusiasm for investing in savings products is a sense that they do not understand the fees and charges, and do not know how much they will get."
"The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is committed to making regulations with us during this Parliament to require the publication of more costs and charges."
The FCA has been consulting on guidance on cost transparency to provide to IGCs, and is expected to issue it later this year. However, industry experts are concerned without regulatory changes the guidance will make little difference due to difficulties with firms not passing data on.
Earlier this month, the TTF warned that trustees may face legal action if they do not manage their costs effectively. It said, however, cost management was difficult without knowing the full extent of costs to schemes.
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