Who is pensions minister Ros Altmann?

1 June 2015

With seismic shifts in the pensions industry, just who is pensions minister Ros Altmann? Ros Altmann, the pensions minister. Photo: DANIEL JONES She's the Government's new pensions minister and she's been in post for a month. But what do we really know about Ros Altmann? We take a look at Dr Altmann's career to date and see if it gives us any clue as to what her tenure as pensions minister will be like.

Dr Ros Altmann is one of the UK's top experts on pensions and retirement, both as an academic and investment professional. She began her career at University College London, moving on to research positions at both Harvard and the London School of Economics. Moving away from academia, she then worked in the City for over 15 years, managing a number of institutional investment portfolios.

It was then that she decided to move into consultancy work, and this is where she made her name as one of the UK's most respected experts on pension's policy and retirement, working with both the Treasury on the Myners Review and on policy development with the Number 10 policy unit.

It is for her campaigns however that she is perhaps best known. For years, Altmann has been a tireless spokesperson and campaigner for the over 50s, both in her role as the Director General of Saga and in her previous role as the Government's 'champion for older people'. She's been very successful at it too. In 2007 she successfully lobbied the then Labour Government to offer compensation to people whose company pension schemes had gone bust. And as the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power, in the face of wide ranging cuts to public spending, she was successful in ensuring free bus passes, free eye tests, the winter fuel allowance and other benefits for older people were protected. She was also instrumental in calling for a flat rate state pension, which we will see introduced next year at a rate of £155 per week.

However, it is the biggest pension reform of all that Dr Altmann will be most proud of. The new pension reforms, allowing people complete access to their pension pot at the age of 55 is one of the biggest reforms to pensions in living memory, and one that she was vital in making happen. With this reform ongoing, along with the seismic changes that auto enrolment is bringing to UK businesses, it's reassuring the Government have chosen someone of the calibre of Dr Altmann to oversee these exciting times for the pensions industry.

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