UK pension professionals identified cyber risk as an area they would most like to see the government and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) make changes to.

A poll of almost 500 pension professionals attending several of Aon’s pension conferences were asked about their views on the future of UK pensions.

The majority of respondents (94%) indicated that UK pensions required some form of further change, with 31% expressing pessimism regarding the current system. Despite the unprecedented amount of regulatory change experienced in the last few years, just 6% of respondents were optimistic about the UK pensions system as it currently stands.

A number of priorities were identified when respondents were asked in which areas they wanted to see the government and TPR make changes. The top four priorities included cyber risks (42%), defined contribution (DC) small pot consolidation (36%), dashboards (34%) and defined benefit (DB) refunds of surplus (34%).

Matthew Arends, partner and head of UK retirement policy at Aon, said that it is “telling” that despite significant regulatory change to the UK pensions system in the last few years to both DB and DC pensions, 90% of respondents say that the UK requires further changes to its pension system.

He pointed out that the results are “all the more pertinent” given that the Aon’s Global Pension Risk Survey (GPRS) showed that a regulatory burden and political uncertainty were teh biggest concerns for pension schemes.

Respondents to the GPRS highlighted both the volume of regulatory change already required of schemes and the full pipeline of changes that are on the way as creating significant resource challenges.

“Even with this background, our pension conference attendees overwhelmingly responded that further change is needed,” Arends said.

Arends added that navigating regulatory volatility was “inevitably a concern for schemes”, with trustees and sponsors facing challenges in ensuring risks and opportunities are prioritised appropriately. “Even so, further changes to the system are still perceived as a way to provide better outcomes,” he added.

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