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Opas wants simpler streamlined pensions

Pensions must be simplified to restore public confidence in saving for retirement, says pension advisory service Opas.

Opas says there is a formidable number of pension options available and urges that the Government&#39s simplification review headed by Alan Pickering should lead to a substantial reduction in the range and type of schemes.

It also wants the rules on selling pension schemes to be changed.

Opas would like to see a streamlining of legislation to promote more clarity and understanding, not only for the public but also pension administrators. It calls for the introduction of a standard set of rules that can be adapted to meet the needs of individual schemes.

It wants the Pickering review to devise a consistent approach for dealing with member&#39s rights to draw benefits from age 50 and in respect of AVCs. It also suggests the introduction of a legal requirement to make trustees provide members with a written explanation of their decisions.

Opas is seeking changes to contracting out of Serps and arrangements for receiving benefits when a pension scheme is wound up. It also believes that dispute procedure regulations should be changed to provide more flexibility.

Chief executive Malcolm McLean says: “Complexity in the pension system is now at ridiculous levels. Successive Governments have in the past failed to address the issue. Radical solutions are needed.

“If meaningful change is to be achieved, we must be prepared to challenge the status quo and throw out all outmoded rules and regulations. Public confidence in pensions is at stake and must be restored.”

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