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Mercers calls for greater pensions education

UK- Consultant Mercers has criticised the government and employers for failing to invest in educating pension scheme members saying it is one of the biggest problems facing the industry.

It warns that the situation is all the more pressing given the closure of defined benefit schemes in favour of more complicated defined contribution funds.

Communication consultant Trevor Rutter says: "no one is taking responsibility for pensions education - it falls between individuals, employers and the government. All are failing to grasp the nettle.”

As companies move away from final salary schemes, so more employees are being left to manage their own retirement provision.

“People need clear and practical guidance to make the right decisions. The problem is, people are constantly bombarded by complex and confusing information and don’t know where to turn," he says.

Mercers believes employers should bear some of the responsibility as traditional final salary schemes are closed and employees are left to take their own decisions on investment and contribution levels.

"Employers need to decide where they stand on pension communication and education, and how much responsibility they need to take. When you think of the expense involved, it’s hard to see why a company would not wish to ensure members understand and value their pension scheme.

"Many employers make a substantial contribution to their company pensions. Until they educate their employees and give them the tools they need to make informed decisions, they degrade the value of that investment," says Rutter.

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