LeGrand issues call for new pension policy framework

Former SPP and PMI president says new pensions commission should also be set up

Jonathan Stapleton
clock • 2 min read
LeGrand: Any solution is likely to require some radical changes;
Image:

LeGrand: Any solution is likely to require some radical changes;

The government should establish a new pensions policy framework to resolve challenges with the current system, Kevin LeGrand says.

In an article for pensions information service Pendragon, LeGrand - the independent pensions consultant who is a past president of both the Pensions Management Institute and Society of Pension Professionals - argued however that the complex regime built up to help people manage the financial stresses of retirement had sometimes been undermined by policy shifts and a lack of integration across related policy areas.

He said: "There have been many well-intentioned initiatives and policies over the past few decades. Unfortunately, they have not always achieved their full potential due in part to changing policies in other areas, exposing a lack of integration and consistency."

LeGrand said the impending change of prime minister offers the opportunity to take a "radical new path" towards a more relevant and sustainable system.

He noted that, while auto-enrolment has been a great success in increasing private pension coverage, that success is undermined by insufficient funding - adding that statutory minimum contribution levels are woefully short of those needed to supplement the meagre state pension to achieve an acceptable aggregate retirement income.

LeGrand called for a new framework for pensions to help those who can do so make provision for their retirement; to encourage the adoption of scheme designs that provide a greater degree of predictability of outcome than pure defined contribution schemes; and to help members with pension decisions, such as contribution levels, investments and benefit choice, regardless of scheme design.

He also called for a new Pensions Commission - one which could both "formulate a new framework for parliament to consider and provide ongoing processes to identify and discourage inappropriate proposed amendment".

LeGrand added: "Once established, it should be supported by a covenant entered into by the government to continue to support its future work and status.

"In that way there will be a greater chance of maintaining public confidence in the new pension framework, creating an environment for good planning."

He concluded: "Recent financial shocks have exposed serious issues with the nation's pensions framework. Although these have been known about for some time, finding a long-term solution has been hampered by the absence of an overarching pensions strategy and the limitations of a piecemeal system bound by narrowly-focused restrictions.

"Any solution is likely to require some radical changes; those may not be achievable without a change to the environment in which they exist."

To read Kevin LeGrand's article in full, visit the Pendragon website.

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