UK - Steve Webb, the UK Minister of State for Pensions, has hinted that the fees for the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) were not ideal.

"On charges, it's probably true - we wouldn't start from here," he said, speaking at the Mallowstreet Exchange conference in London.

NEST, which starts this year, will charge a contribution fee of 1.8% and an annual management fee of 0.3%.

While Webb described this as being "at the lower end of the industry range", he acknowledged the difficulty of creating an appropriate charging structure for the group that will be the main beneficiaries of the new scheme - the young and disengaged with relatively risk-averse attitudes to investment.

He stressed the importance of NEST - pointing out that two-thirds (and rising) of UK private sector workers have no pension provision at all. "That's a truly shocking figure," he said.

But Webb emphasised the work that is being done to broaden understanding of the scheme and incentivise against opting-out.

Chiefly, this has involved removing means-testing from state pension provision - to avoid NEST savers being penalised at state retirement age.

But he also stressed the importance of the "softer" side of communications with employers and employees who are currently disengaged from pensions.

"NEST has had to think about the language it uses - 'pensions' isn't a word that gets people excited," he said. "They have also worked hard to make the online interface user-friendly and accessible for the busy and self-employed.

"And the Department for Pensions has conducted some useful research on how to prevent a lot of opting-out. You would think the 48-page opt-out form would be the best bet.

"But, in fact, because the initial fear for people is that this is something that is being done to them, the solution is to put them back in control: you don't hide the information about opting out - you put it in bold letters on page one, followed by all the reasons why we think staying opted-in is a good idea."

Webb also noted that the ability to transfer pension pots needed attention, to facilitate consolidation and cut down on the high number of trivial pots that savers often accrue over their working lives, thereby improve purchasing power in the annuities market.

He said this would be one of the issues on the agendum of a public consultation to be held later this year.