UK - The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) is joining forces with insurer Standard Life to research alternative methods of providing adequate retirement savings, starting with analysis of existing defined contribution (DC) provision.

Entitled the 'PMI/Standard Life DC Pulse', the initial project will examine several key themes for companies already offering some form of DC scheme, and investigate whether their existing pension arrangement will be "fit for purpose" following the introduction of the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) in 2012.

Other issues to form part of the project - which will then be presented at the PMI autumn conference in September - include:

Can your company cope with scalability issues - such as running the administration and investment together? How can you offer effective future proofing to DC pension schemes? What are the best diversified growth options in order to reduce DC volatility? What does effective DC employee engagement really look like?

Vince Linnane, chief executive of the PMI, said: "Whilst there is an awful lot of dust still to settle from the displacement of the defined benefit (DB) pension schemes that have been the mainstay of the UK pension scene for over 25 years, it is vital that work commences now on what the new pensions environment will look like for the next 25."

He pointed out that DC schemes in some form look like being the new norm for the pensions industry. Therefore: "We have to make them work, as effectively and as securely as possible, to safeguard people's retirement income. This vital research project will feed into that and help allay fears about DC pensions."

Alan Reid, corporate distribution director at Standard Life, added: "We know the market is evolving and employers are looking at innovative ways of offering benefit programmes which support the varying needs of their workforces. The research project will help determine our thinking and strategy in this growing market."

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