UK – There can be no half measures in the government’s response to the need for radical pension simplification, says the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) in its response to the Pickering pension simplification paper.

The ACA says that the large-scale increase in complex regulation and additional costs placed on schemes and their sponsors over the last 20 years by central government are now taking its toll and this is having an adverse effect on contribution levels to occupational schemes.

Says Mike Arnold, chairman of the ACA: “recent announcements by a raft of large employers and widespread evidence from our members that many more firms are reviewing their occupational pension arrangements is worrying for employees. Efforts to safeguard scheme members are ending up undermining their interests. Fewer people are being offered access to occupational schemes, with lower pension contributions often the case.”

Furthermore, the ACA warns that the government would be unwise to think pensions and employer bodies are bluffing over the state of occupational pension provision. “Government is going to have to set a new course of deregulation and accept simplification will mean some losers, but for the greater good of the majority. The acid test is whether they have the vision to take the necessary decisions,” he says.