UK - A government service which enables pension schemes to provide a forecast of state benefits for members will be officially launched at The Pension Show.
The Pension Show is organised by MSM International, publishers of International Pensions News, Global Pensions and Professional Pensions.
The service - which will be unveiled at the Department for Work and Pensions stand at the show - is designed to encourage employees to increase pension provision.
It will enable schemes to issue statements including forecast details of projected state retirement benefits.
The second stage of the project – to make annual pension forecasts compulsory for all money purchase pension schemes – will come into force in 2003. Currently the forecasting service is a being piloted by schemes including Merseyside Pension Fund and EMAP Pension Scheme, which won the Best DC Scheme category at the inaugural UK Pension Scheme Awards earlier this month. Merseyside Pension Fund principal pensions officer Peter Mawdsley said: “The project was the first exercise where a sample group of the membership was contacted to explain the purpose of the project and an “opt-out” form was provided for members to return if they did not wish to participate.”
Mawdsley added: ”Regulations require schemes to inform members of their right to opt out and specify a minimum notice period. Previous exercises by the other partners in this pilot exercise had required positive options form members who wished to participate.”
Previously, statements containing details of Local Government Scheme benefits were only received at the retirement age of between 60 and 65 – which would change under the new forecast services.
Some of the responses from members said that the forecasting service proved to be “very helpful” and that parties would “like to receive a combined statement every year”.
Lynx Heywood - which supplies the AXIS pensions administration used by Merseyside - is also involved in the project.
Lynx Heywood public sector marketing and product consultant Maggie Joyce said: “We are pleased to be part of the pilot project where the participating pension schemes are about to begin the year two exercise of the combined statements issue.”
The facility to produce combined annual benefit statements will be available for the CLASS Group public sector pension schemes which comprise more than 100 organisations using a standard system.
The Pension Show 2001 takes place at The Business Design Centre, Islington, London, on October 17-18.
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