DENMARK - The Danish pensions industry needs to tackle the issue of transparency and is the most pressing problem it faces right now, according to Pensionsinfo, the country's comprehensive national pensions database.

"Everyone agrees that the most important theme is transparency and openness," says Leif Kvistgaard, project manager for Pensionsinfo - a body which is one of the 10 nominees for this year's Outstanding Industry Contribution award at the IPE European Pension Fund Awards in Vienna tomorrow (Nov 15).

The independent internet service, which was set up at the end of the last century, allows every Danish citizen to see an overall summary of their pension provision. It presents individual pension data from most Danish pension funds in a single table.

But the country's three pillar pensions system is a comprehensive one, Kvistgaard notes.

"That in itself creates complexity, which can mean a lack of transparency. This is what Pensionsinfo tries to cope with from the point of view of entitlements," he says.

He adds transparency of the - sometimes hidden - costs pension customers pay through the provider is part of this whole matter.

That said, the main task the Pensionsinfo service itself faces at present is the implementation of changes brought about by the country's welfare reforms.

Under the legislation, which was passed by parliament last year, there will be five different retirement ages depending on the individual's birthdate, Kvistgaard explains. On top of this, there is a mechanism which automatically adjusts retirement ages according to life expectancy.

"That has pervasive consequences for us," he says, as the first group of Danes who will be affected by the new law are those born on January 1, 1959 or later.

"The problem is that although those people are not retiring yet, they want to see what will happen when they retire," Kvistgaard says. "The challenge is to keep the complexity in the system, while saving the user from all that complexity too," he adds.

Pensionsinfo expects to be able to launch a new version of Pensionsinfo which caters for these people by around April 1 next year, he said.

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