Former Lloyds Banking Groups chief risk officer Carol Sergeant has been appointed to oversee the Office of Fair Tradings audit of high-cost and legacy defined contribution workplace pensions, the watchdog announced today
Sergeant worked for Lloyds until 2011 and prior to that was managing director for risk and regulatory processes at the Financial Services Authority. She currently holds a range of non-executive board-level positions.
She will be joined on the independent project board by David Hare, president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and Doug Taylor, a member of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority's occupational pensions stakeholder group and leader of Enfield Council in London.
Other project board members include: Joanne Segars, the National Association of Pension Funds, Nick Poyntz-Wright, director of pensions and long-term savings at the Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Warwick-Thompson of The Pensions Regulator and Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers.
Details of the make-up of the project board came as the OFT formally closed its market study of DC workplace schemes. In September, the OFT published the findings of its study, which began in January 2013. These found, amongst other things, that around £30bn of savings in old (pre-2001) and high-charging contract and bundled-trust pension schemes failed achieve value for money by the standards of modern DC schemes.
In response, the Association of British Insurers and it members have agreed to undertake an audit of schemes to give a full picture of their associated charges and benefits.
The OFT said the project board is expected to agree the terms of reference for the audit, scrutinise the results and agree what industry-level actions are needed to address schemes not assessed as value for money. The audit is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said: 'While we have decided not to refer [the DC pension] market to the Competition Commission at this time, we expect this audit to deliver real value to those with savings in the £30bn or so pre-2001 legacy schemes.
'It is also important, particularly given that automatic enrolment is already under way, that any recommendations from the independent project board are implemented quickly.'
In a response to the appointments, pensions minister Steve Webb said: 'The OFT announcement today is a significant next step in the government's drive to protect consumers from excessive charges. This audit will give us valuable insight into the charges imposed by legacy pension schemes.
'The independent chair and board will bring the skills and experience needed to conduct this important task.'
The 10 members of the OFT's independent project board are:
Carol Sergeant, independent chair
Michelle Cracknell, the Pensions Advisory Service
David Hare, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
Bridget Micklem, Department for Work and Pensions
Nick Poyntz-Wright, Financial Conduct Authority
Joanne Segars, the National Association of Pension Funds Limited
Ed Smith, Office of Fair Trading
Doug Taylor, member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, the EIOPA occupational pensions stakeholder group and NEST's Members' Panel
Otto Thoresen, Association of British Insurers
Andrew Warwick-Thompson, The Pensions Regulator