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It's good to see a timely story being picked up by the Daily Telegraph, Robert Peston and others highlighting the potential risks of widespread pensions mis-selling that may accompany the roll out of NEST and auto-enrolment from next year.

It's good to see a timely story being picked up by the Daily Telegraph, Robert Peston and others highlighting the potential risks of widespread pensions mis-selling that may accompany the roll out of NEST and auto-enrolment from next year.

As the lead of our ongoing Tomorrow's Investor project, RSA Fellow David Pitt-Watson has been warning that these are issues the government should be concerned about.  The fear is that in  future there will be no restrictions on the terms which private pension providers can offer, and that this could leave savers vulnerable to poor investment choices at best, or exploitation at worst.

The tragedy is that this is being done as part of a broader reform with which everyone agrees.  Auto-enroled pensions are a very good idea.  But we also know that unregulated selling of pensions and other financial products is a recipe for disaster, and that often the disaster will not be apparent until the  damage is already done.

In response, the government has said that it is monitoring the market and will crack down on mis-selling when it occurs. But how does it intend to crack down on mis-selling, when mis-selling is not against the law?  And how will it know that mis-selling has taken place? Bernie Madoff mis-sold investments.  But it took years for that to become apparent.  It sounds rather like regulation after the event, which is not very reassuring.

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