UK - Simplification Report author Alan Pickering has told the industry to stop arguing over minor details in government reform and agree on the "big picture".
Speaking exclusively to Jonathan Stapleton, the former NAPF chairman said he was disappointed at the industry’s largely negative response to the government’s plans for reform.
He described the Green Paper as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to radically modernise the pensions system”.
But he said that while some people had set out their “big picture” vision, others had “concentrated too much on the detail – particularly the detail of transition”.
Pickering’s views on the Green Paper contradicts responses from the industry’s leading bodies such as the NAPF, Society of Pension Consultants and the Association of Consulting Actuaries, which all believe the paper was a “missed opportunity”.
Pickering said: “Any transition is always going to be a problem, but I think we need to agree the big picture destination with the government so that transition becomes a shared problem rather than a battleground.”
And although he acknowledged that many feel the Green Paper lacked radicalism, he stressed that this was no excuse to get stuck in minor details.
Pickering remained optimistic that there will be a new Pensions Act in 2004 and rejected criticisms that the government was “long on consultation and short on action”.
But he warned that the success of any consultation would be judged by the quality of legislation it produced.
“The government’s real test for seriousness will be measured not by the Green Paper but by the legislation to which it will hopefully lead.”
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