Prime minister Theresa May’s snap election last year created more losers than winners in her party. But one person who did do well was Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd.
Lloyd lost his seat in the 2015 election, only to win back the Eastbourne constituency in 2017. He now heads up the work and pensions brief for the Liberal Democrats.
His party may not be in the strongest position at the moment. But he is quickly getting on top of the big pensions and financial advice issues. He is eager to meet IFAs to help him push the government on ways to improve the current financial and regulatory system.
You have been pressing the government to legislate for the pensions cold call ban. Why do you think this is important?
I do not understand why the government is not prioritising this. The Financial Conduct Authority is saying around 100,000 people a year are being caught up in these [pension scams]. The government needs to put this much higher up the ladder. We will not give up until it does (the government last week tabled an amendment that could put a ban in force by June).
You recently came out in favour of a ‘care pension’, which would allow for more than the 25% tax-free lump sum to be withdrawn as long as it is used for a care insurance product. Why is this policy needed?
This was an idea I picked up from Steve Webb. In my opinion, he was the best pensions minister in the UK.
The government is squeezing county councils to a level I have never seen before. Northamptonshire County Council almost went into administration.
Because of Brexit, the government is leaderless and rudderless. Big issues like the care funding crisis are being ignored. I liked how the care pension plan seemed a very elegant solution.
In its auto-enrolment review last year, the government decided not to auto-enrol the self-employed. Was this a mistake?
The government is not paying enough attention to the self-employed. The Tories are pretty much in breach of one of their manifesto policies. I do not think they are giving it the priority they should be.
This government is not giving a whole raft of areas [the priority], because they are either obsessed with Brexit or obsessed with which one of them is going to be leader. I have been around a long time, but I have never seen such an incompetent government in my life and I am not that politically partisan.
Are auto-enrolment contributions too low?
The defined benefit schemes outside the public sector are disappearing. The young people I speak to are realising they will probably have to retire at [age] 150. They will need to make higher contributions to get higher contributions from their employers.
What should the government be doing to help the financial advice market today?
The scale of regulation IFAs are under now has become quite intolerable. So I am quite interested in challenging the government on this.
But right now I would like honest, sensible and practical IFAs to get in touch and give me a briefing. I need good people to advise me where regulation has become overbearing and provide some solutions.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
What is your favourite album?
Abraxas by Santana.
Do you have a financial adviser?
If you could invite any guest to a dinner party, who would it be?
What is your pet peeve?
STEPHEN LLOYD CV
2017–present MP for Eastbourne and Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesperson
2010–2015 MP for Eastbourne
2005–2010 Business development consultant at the Federation of Small Businesses