Britain's "broken" pension system can be fixed if the industry commits to making bold decisions to improve the quality of provision, NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars says.
Addressing the conference yesterday afternoon, Segars outlined the key areas that need to be addressed if the industry is to flourish. Politicians were warned of the need to take difficult decisions in the pensions arena rather than "tinkering" with reforms.
Segars pointed to the bold decisions being taken in areas such as welfare reform and the NHS and urged the Department for Work and Pensions to follow suit.
"We need this level of ambition to carry through to pensions," she said. "Often the long term view we need in this area has been used as a political decision not to act."
Segars praised the coalition government for its commitment to reinvigorate workplace pension provision - moving it away from "years of political pensions paralysis" but warned that a pragmatic approach will be needed to ensure issues like leveling down does not occur.
A further challenge according to Segars is to ensure the quality of occupational pension provision is high as they are still well regarded by employees.
NAPF research demonstrates 44% of respondents believe pensions are still the best way to save for retirement. This is twice as many as those who believe property to be the best savings vehicle and more than three times that of ISAs. 80% of respondents also said they took pension provision into account when applying for jobs and she urged employers to do more to highlight the level of provision they offer.
"Britain's pension system is broken but we can and must fix it.," said Segars. "Not only for the sustainability of the industry but for society as a whole.
The buyout deficit of FTSE 350 pension schemes has reduced by £2.5bn since the introduction of Freedom and Choice due to an increased number of transfer exercises, Barnett Waddingham has found.
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has called on the government to review its “complicated” pension tax measures and simplify engagement with the system.
This week’s top stories included B&CE entering into a redundancy consultation with staff, and the National Grid UK Pension Scheme completing a £2.8bn buy-in.
The government will pay out £21bn in income tax relief for pension contributions this tax year, while national insurance relief payments will rise to £18.7bn, according to statistics from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).