The UK government has finally published its long awaited bill on welfare reform and pensions, providing the framework for its new retirement initiative 'Stakeholder pension schemes'.
Setting out the guidelines for implementation of Stakeholder plans within existing occupational and personal pensions, the bill also enables the rebating of national insurance contributions to workers opting out of the State Earning Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). It also empowers OPRA, the pensions regulatory body, to ensure em-ployers comply with the regulations and pay contributions to stakeholder schemes on time.
And the bill rules that pension rights can no longer be treated as part of a person's estate, so will escape forfeiture in the event of personal bankruptcy.
Spouses of any person with accumulated pension rights now have legal recourse to a share in the event of divorce as well, and pension rights can be handed down from person to person, except in the case of death.
However, the bill, which follows on from last years industry consultation green paper, makes no reference to the launch of LISAs, the tax attractive investment vehicle for retirement saving through unit and investment trusts.
Paul Greenwood, head of the Retirement Research Unit of consultants William Mercer, says of LISAs: What the government is proposing is a new investment vehicle to fit all types of pension; occupational, personal and stakeholder, but it appears very similar to existing tax exempt unit or investment trusts used for pension purposes.
The only new proposal is the ability to transfer members rights between pension schemes, includingdifferent types, using new pooled investment vehicles."