UK - Industry heavyweights are urging the government to create a permanent pensions commission to advise on pensions policy.
The call followed a top-level debate to look at ways of establishing a benefit policy that was clear, simple, affordable, secure and stable.
The discussion was triggered by Mellon Human Resources & Investment Services head of technical services Kevin Le-Grand’s idea to depoliticise pensions by setting up an “independent pensions authority”.
LeGrand said: “The present system of policy-making and implementation has proved itself inadequate. Government is still taking a piecemeal approach.
“We need a new system. Ideally you want it to be outside of everyday political control. If it is going to work and we are to have a cohesive policy moving forward, it has got to set out long-term objectives and it has got to be free from knee-jerk reactions.”
But Simplification Report author Alan Pickering believed the government would not agree to give an authority such wide-ranging powers. But it might accept a commission which acted as a sounding board on proposals.
The other participants - Pensions Management Institute president Roger Cobley, Association of Pensions Law-yers litigation committee chairman Giles Orton, former adviser to No. 10 Ros Altmann and Society of Pension Consultants president Robert Birmingham - agreed.
All, though, signed up - on a personal basis rather than as representatives of their trade groups - to a joint communiquÈ calling on the government to create a permanent pensions commission which would advise on all aspects of pensions policy.
This, they said, could then build on the work started by the Pensions Commission chaired by Adair Turner and help formulate policy ideas within the state and private systems.
Pickering said: “There is a wide-ranging consensus outside parliament about what should happen.
“We do need a different infrastructure to ensure that consensus is delivered.”
And he warned that if the new body was too independent, the government could ignore its recommendations.
This week's edition of Professional Pensions is out now.
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