UK - The confusing nature of UK pensions is damaging competitiveness and could stymie the recovery from recession, top industry figures warned.
In an interview with GP, Confederation for British Industry head of pensions Neil Carberry pointed to the state of pensions as a "significant barrier" for foreign companies considering investing in the UK.
Carberry said government needed to understand the extent of the problem faced by businesses managing defined benefit scheme costs.
"We need policymakers to understand that DB costs are an issue whether or not the scheme itself remains open. The state of pensions in the UK at the moment represents a significant barrier to foreign investment," he said.
Independent consultant Ros Altmann said she "100% agreed" and called for a "radical rethink" of pension legislation.
"We have the most complex pensions system in the world by far - almost nobody understands it at all, even the DWP. Even though we've had the simplification, things aren't simple at all - in many ways they've become more complicated."
Pinsent Masons partner and former National Association of Pension Funds chairman Robin Ellison said the system was unimaginably complicated and the introduction of NEST, the personal accounts system to be introduced in 2012, would make it worse.
He said: "When I qualified there were roughly 30 pages of regulations - now we're nudging 50,000. It's just bizarre, and it's become so complex that most companies just say ‘to hell with it'."
Society of Pensions Consultants council member Kevin LeGrand argued that instability was also a major problem.
He said: "When you've got that complexity combined with such frequent fundamental changes - basically just fiddling and reacting to minor problems - it just magnifies the strain on UK employers as a result."
And he warned of the dangers of creeping complexity in defined contribution legislation. "What we must not do is go down the same route with DC as we did with DB. That's effectively killed DB."
Industry experts are calling on the government to act quickly on new pensions dashboard legislation. The DWP is looking at how to do it amid Brexit constraints, writes Kim Kaveh.
An interactive and hands-free technology that allows savers to track how much they have invested into their retirement pots has been launched by Smart Pension.
The Lighthouse Pensions Trust has recorded an 84% surge in the number of employers signed up to its auto-enrolment (AE) provision.
Melrose Industries's UK defined benefit (DB) schemes had a £5.5m combined deficit at the end of 2016, its annual results have revealed.