As the calendar ticks down towards 2012 the pension reform process has brought workplace defined contribution provision under scrutiny of an intensity never seen before. Such analysis can only be positive for the creation of a system that will serve the country for decades to come.
This supplement, which covers a round table discussion hosted by Corporate Adviser in association with Axa, looks at the key topics facing workplace pensions professionals at this crucial time. Our panel of distinguished experts, drawn from all corners of the industry, examined the challenges and opportunities that we will all be grappling with in the coming months. Opinions varied, widely on some subjects, but I hope that the features contained in this supplement create a definitive snapshot of where workplace pensions are now and where they should be going.
Pensions reform is sparking new thinking in a wide range of areas. The auto-enrolment and Retail Distribution Review changes have brought into sharp focus the differences between the two regulatory structures that workplace pensions operate under.
The issue of choice, particularly when it comes to the range of investment options available to a broad mass of unsophisticated investors, is also becoming increasingly controversial. Charges are an evergreen subject given fresh impetus by the regulatory changes, and taken with the choice argument, are putting the issue of whether it is worth paying for active fund management squarely in centre stage.
Our experts also paid keen attention to the issue of benchmarking, not least with personal accounts looking like it will create the mother of all benchmarks in less than three years time.
One could argue that workplace DC pensions have existed in a bubble for many years. Now they are under the spotlight, change is inevitable. I cannot believe it is in anyone’s interest for change not to come about.