UK - Although the two-month postponement of the implementation of the new age discrimination regulations was welcomed by the pensions industry, some claimed the delay will bring about a further period of uncertainity.
The government announced the section of legislation related to pension schemes will be postponed to 1 December 2006.
Ken MacIntyre, policy advisor, National Association of Pension Funds, said uncertainty would be rife among employers, since they need clarification on what is discriminatory or not.
He suggested amendments be made to include a blanket exemption for all pension schemes.
"The exemptions in the original regulations were fairly limited and schemes would have to check everything to ensure there was no discrimination, direct or indirect," he said.
Law firms commenting on the announcement welcomed the postponment but highlighted difficulties that coudl arise as a result.
Pinsent Masons said: "Unless the government decides what amendments are to be made to the regulations quickly, employers and trustees may be left scrambling around towards the end of the year trying to take on board those amendments."
David Everett, research partner, Lane, Clark & Peacock echoed the sentiment.
“It is good news, in that the problems with the regulations may be dealt with. However,the delay also creates a further period of uncertainity for pension schemes,” he said.
Another law firm, Norton Rose, recommended its clients delay implementation of any changes until the full extent of the changes to the legislation are known.
Industry players also criticised the government for making the announcement of the delay too late.
Deborah Cooper, Principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting said: "We have gone to great lengths to explain the difficulties of applying age regulations to pension schemes. It is a shame the announcement to reassess the regulations was made at the eleventh hour, as some pension schemes may have spent a great deal of money trying to comply with the initial proposals.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.