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DWP rapped over disclosure delays

The Department for Work and Pensions has been criticised for delaying reforms to the disclosure requirements for defined-benefit schemes.

The regulations, designed to bring disclosure requirements in line with defined-contribution schemes, would have forced DB schemes to produce an annual statement of benefits to members from next April.

But pension reform minister James Purnell said last week that the reforms will be put on ice pending the DWP’s wider review of regulation, designed to ease the burden on employer schemes.

The new regime, set to come into force in October, also planned to move away from rigid timescales, instead requiring employers to provide information to members within a “reasonable period”.

Purnell said: “It would not be fair to employers to bring in further requirements, only for these to be changed as part of our deregulatory review.”

Standard Life welcomes the decision to postpone the changes to disclosure timescales but says delaying the provision of annual statements could prove damaging in the run-up to the introduction of pension personal accounts.

Marketing technical manager Andrew Tully says: “The decision flies in the face of helping the public understand their pensions. It is particularly important that this issue is resolved well in advance of the introduction of the NPSS so people understand what pensions they have already before deciding on whether they need to save more and how much.”

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