UK - The UK government will not allow early access to pension savings, noting that any further changes to pension legislation should be postponed until the auto-enrolment reforms have been implemented.

Speaking of the decision, financial secretary of the Treasury Mark Hoban said there was "insufficient evidence" to indicate that people would save more for retirement if they were granted early access.

Hoban said: "We will work with industry to develop workplace saving to supplement pension savings. In addition, we will explore other ways of making pension tax rules simpler and more flexible - for example, by making it easier to deal with small pension pots."

It comes after a two-month consultation on the issue, with the Treasury summarising responses by noting that many were not in favour of such a move, or indicated there would be little impact on savings.

The National Association of Pension Funds backed the move, saying it was "sensible to put the option to one side".

Darren Philp, director of policy, added that further suggestions to simplify tax for pensions was a more helpful step.

He added: "The 2012 auto-enrolment reforms need to be implemented and bedded in before further major changes to the pensions landscape are considered."

In other news, trustees of UK shipping firm George Hammond pension scheme have secured a £19m buy-out.

David Collinson, a partner with the Pension Corporation, which worked on the buyout, told IPE: "In principle, a buyout is a relatively straightforward transaction. In this case, the company and the trustee felt it was desirable to secure the members' benefits by transferring them to an insurance company."

The scheme acted quickly to take advantage of market volatility - in particular, divergent movements between scheme assets and insurance pricing.

"A £100m scheme that is fully funded to buy out could find itself with a £20m deficit after a few weeks of volatility in the markets," said Collinson.

Meanwhile, a third Airways Pension Scheme (APS) trustee has resigned from the 12-member board after losing a vote to reject the government-mandated switch from the retail price index (RPI) to the consumer price index (CPI) as a measure of inflation. 

In his letter of resignation, former credit union boss Graham Tomlin slated "government interference" in the private company's affairs, adding that he felt "increasingly constrained by what I am able to say and do while remaining a trustee, and this is particularly true in developing political arguments".

Tomlin's resignation comes as five public-sector representative bodies - including the Civil Service Pensioners' Alliance and trades unions GMB and Prospect - launch a judicial review of the shift to CPI. 

Opposition leader Ed Miliband last month told parliament's lower house that the shift would leave "public sector workers and the poorest in society disadvantaged permanently, year after year".