UK - Alison O'Connell is to step down as director of the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), the research organisation announced today.

She’ll be succeeded by Niki Cleal, previously research director in the Public Policy Unit at HBOS plc, while on secondment by HM Treasury.

"I want to build on the work that Alison O'Connell has started in ensuring that the PPI has an authoritative voice on pensions policy. It is an exciting time for pensions policy in the UK at the moment due to the Government's white paper, which has been published at the end of May. This provides a real opportunity for the PPI to deliver fact-based research," Cleal says.

Cleal wants to preserve the PPI's independent and non-political character in the debate about pensions.

Tom Ross, chairman of the PPI's Council said: "I am thrilled that someone of Niki Cleal's calibre and background I jointing the PPI." Connell will remain a governor of the PPI. The PPI is due to publish an analysis of the government’s pension reform plans later this week.

Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions has released a survey saying people welcome the idea of automatic enrolment into personal pension accounts, one of the key proposals of the Pensions Commission.

And it said that participants “were not keen on the idea of choice about funds or providers”.

“The idea of a default fund was therefore well received as was the proposal for a National Pension Savings Scheme, with centralised administration, collection and investment of funds,” the DWP said.