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Myners charged with making personal accounts peace

Paul Myners has taken up the role of Personal Accounts Delivery Authority chair and with it the task of making many of the difficult decisions the Government has been wrestling with for the past two years.

Myners brings a wealth of experience to the role, notably heading up a number of Government reviews, including the Myners Review into institutional investment which in turn led to the controversial Sandler Review.

He also has plenty of City experience under his belt, working as chief executive of Gartmore and directorships at N M Rothchilds and Natwest.

He is currently also chairman of the Low Pay Commission and the Guardian Media Group and is admirably donating his salary for the role of PADA chair to charity.

The authority allows the Government to keep at arms length from some of the controversial decisions that need to be made on issues such as charging, contracts for both investment and administration and collection methods.

Leading policy players have rushed to welcome Myners to the fold with Which? suggesting he is the “right choice to steer personal accounts in a consumer friendly direction” and the NAPF saying his “commitment to good scheme governance is encouraging”.

The job of chief executive and other senior roles are currently being advertised as the authority shapes up to turn the sketchy proposals into reality.

The Government this week published its independent report by Chris Lewin and Ed Sweeney into potential deregulations that could benefit workplace pensions.

Key recommended changes to the current legislation include making it easier for employers to get back surplus funds in their own pension schemes, introducing simpler rules on what schemes must tell members and concentrating the requirement for trustee expertise at board level rather than on individual trustees.

But Standard Life marketing technical manager Andy Tully says what has been left out the review from the original consultation earlier in the year could be more significant.

Tully says earlier in the year the review consulted on reducing evaluation rates for people who left pension schemes but this has been left out of the review.

He says: “I think the review was surprised by the amount of feedback it got on the issue including a thousand letters from individual British Airways scheme members.

It is a sensible move not to go ahead with this proposal as faith in pensions is low enough at the moment and if the Government had allowed the cutting of benefits already build up it would have been a backward step”.

The review said that employers should be able to set higher retirement ages but only for new members and future service and not retrospectively, as the consultation investigated.

The Government was at the Court of Appeal this week to contest a judicial review from earlier in the year concerning its treatment of the estimated 125,000 victims of occupational scheme collapses.

The Government is fighting the Judicial Review verdict that it should abide by the decision of the Parliamentary Ombudsman- suggesting it could mark a dangerous precedent across Government if the ruling is accepted.

Victims of the Government’s behaviour made their voices heard with a colourful protest outside the Court of Appeal to coincide with the start of the hearing.

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