Mr. Opperman listed several accomplishments by the department under his leadership, including raising automatic enrollment to 8% and passage of the Pensions Schemes Act in 2021, which he said "secured our pensions on an ongoing basis."
Among other changes, the act created the Pensions Dashboard and allowed plan sponsors to set up collective defined contribution plans through which employees share investment and longevity risk.
Steve Webb, partner at U.K. investment consultant Lane Clark & Peacock, said in a separate statement that "after years of a revolving door for pensions ministers, it has been good to have a period of stability under Guy Opperman."
Mr. Webb credited Mr. Opperman for making progress in key areas, including the groundwork for CDC plans "and getting pension schemes to focus more on how their funds are invested from an ESG perspective," he said.
Less successful were efforts to boost defined contribution savings rates and "there are also serious questions about whether the new DB funding regime is fit for purpose. The new minister will have much work to do to get these key areas moving again," Mr. Webb said in his statement.
Tim Middleton, director of policy and external affairs at the Pensions Management Institute, said Mr. Opperman's greatest legacy will be the Pensions Dashboard. "Whilst we have not always agreed with all of his ideas, we have never doubted his energy, determination and enthusiasm for the role and his clear desire to improve pension provision."
There is much more to do, Mr. Opperman said in his announcement, "from expanding automatic enrollment to professional trustees, proper measurement of value for money, expanding superfunds, illiquid investments and CDCs, and ensuring that we have a much better system" for individual defined contribution retirement planning, he said. "I will be fully supportive of the new teams."