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NAPF chairman exits with European challenge

UK/EUROPE – UK National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) outgoing chairman Alan Pickering has called for European pension systems to be based on four cornerstones – diversity, inclusiveness, simplicity and stability - in his opening address at today’s (May 17) NAPF Annual Conference in Birmingham....

Pickering, in his final NAPF speech as chairman, warned the conference that taking the wrong path for future pension provision could spell not only retirement disaster but also lead to future economic and social problems.
“ Make the wrong choice and not only will poverty and old age go hand in hand but the resultant social fragmentation will lead to economic underperformance which will itself create political and social strife.”

Choose correctly, however, said Pickering, and the result could be a virtuous circle, with efficient pensions systems helping create efficient economies, which he called: “the foundation upon which retirement security is based.”

Outlining his own views on the European pensions arena, Pickering commented: “Within each country, there should be a variety of pension opportunities. These opportunities should not, however, be confused by marketing hype. Differences should be generic and real not merely branding reflected by smoke and mirrors.”

The NAPF chairman also defended dual state/private pensions practice as the best balance for individuals and society at large: “ Defined benefit and money purchase each have their place. Work based arrangements of all types should dovetail with the personal financial arrangements that each of us should individually tailor.”

Pickering will be replaced as chairman tomorrow (May 18) by Peter Thompson of consultant William M. Mercer.

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