UK - NAPF CONFERENCE: Imminent radical government reforms are needed to address the UK's pensions crisis rather than just "tinkering" with current legislation, NAPF delegates were told.
Incoming benefits council chairman Rhoslyn Roberts urged the government to overhaul the state system, give employers “concrete financial incentives” and introduce radical reforms so that firms can operate schemes best suited to members’ and employers’ circumstances.
Roberts – who is also BBC head of pensions – said: “The NAPF is really disappointed the government is not looking at state pension or S2P – the view here is that we really should abolish contracting-out and looking for a higher pension age.
“The DWP’s proposals are helpful but they are only tinkering.
“It helps, but radicalism is better. Pickering is right to have more emphasis on flexibility, so that employers can operate schemes that best suit their circumstances. Decent workplace pensions will strengthen the pensions framework and make the UK a better place in which to grow old.”
She added that the government must find a “fair balance” to ensure that while employees’ pensions are protected, they come at an affordable cost to their plan sponsors.
Roberts stressed that it is vital the government gets to grips with why people are unable to save and scrap means testing. To encourage saving, the income from private pensions should have no bearing on means-tested benefits.
Roberts said: “The real reason people don’t save for retirement is a lack of resources and means testing.
“We need a reality check: no matter what is done by way of information packs, combined benefit statements, pension forecasts; all these things are good, but ultimately there is a group of people who just don’t have the money to save and they need a decent state pension.”
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.