UK – The head of the Association of Consulting Actuaries has called for the government to look again at pension reform.
“Let us hope that the new Pensions Minister, whenever he is appointed, will look again at state and private reforms,” said Gordon Pollock, the chairman Association of Consulting Actuaries.
He said successive governments have tinkered with both state and private pension provision – “usually ignoring the advice of actuaries, other pension professionals and employers”. Governments had shown “myopic short-termism” that meant long term financial planning was increasingly difficult.
“Governments create the environment in which pension planning can thrive or decline, not actuaries,” Pollock told the ACA annual dinner.
He said actuaries have a “long tradition” of engaging with the government. When the government removed advanced corporation tax relief in 1997, Pollock said the ACA warned of the impact of the move at the time but the government was not in ‘listening mode’.
“It is therefore very worrying that at such an important time for pensions, when we need an imaginative and listening government, we are told state pension reforms are ‘not open for discussion’,” he said. He said that radical policies to boost private occupational pensions are “nowhere to be seen”.
“The ACA alongside many other bodies has called for genuine incentives to boost occupational provision, and our members are working with employers and trustees of schemes to imaginatively re-shape pension arrangements so they can meet the needs of employers and members into the future.”
He said better financial incentives and major reductions in red tape are essential.
ACA members advise UK pension schemes with assets in excess of 650 billion pounds (929 billion euros).