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Bee says advisers can help the industry ride out ‘perfect pension storm’

Scottish Life head of pensions strategy Steve Bee says the life and pension industry faces its biggest shake-up in recent times and is heading towards “a perfect storm”.

He says the A-Day changes will pale in comparison with the upheaval yet to be felt by the industry, with age discrimination rules and the Government White Paper proposals on the horizon but this confusion will increase the need for advice.

He says: “We are heading towards a perfect storm. The new environment is going to be a massive shake-up of the pension industry, much bigger than what we saw at A-Day.

“The White Paper and occupational pension provision will be confusing and dangerous. Advice incentives will be much more in demand than ever before, which is great news for IFAs.”

Bee warns that anti-age discrimination laws will change the pension system far more radically than the “superficial changes” brought in at A-Day.

He says the European measures are still open to interpretation and may not bec-ome clear until test cases are brought before the European courts, which will result in a period of confusion.

A report by consultancy Hewitt Associates last week found that almost half of all occupational money-purchase schemes would fall foul of the new age discrimination regulations while Mercer says the regulations could discourage companies from continuing to offer defined-contribution occupational schemes.

On the White Paper, Bee says he expects the bulk of the Government’s proposals, particularly personal accounts, to be implemented.

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