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Pensions high on US election agendas

Democrat and Republican candidates have put pensions and financial advice high on their campaign agendas as voting closes in the US mid-term elections.

With the ageing US electorate growing increasingly concerned with retirement issues, both parties are promoting policies that will make pensions more secure, says American Benefits Council retirement policy director John C Scott.

Scott, who was in the UK last week speaking at the ABI Saver Summit, told Money Marketing that a backdrop of huge corporate failures such as Enron and Worldcom and massive Wall Street losses means individuals have brought 10,000 cases against employers over pension shortfalls.

Employers in the US get immunity from liability when they recommend a scheme to their staff. The Democrats want this immunity to be reduced, making it easier for staff to sue employers.

The Republicans have campaigned against the growing trend of litigation, which it claims results in fee-hungry attorneys raking up questionable cases.

Scott says: “The whole issue of pension litigation has become a big one in this election. The Democrats are more prone to use the issue to expand the liabilities of employers at a time when employees are seeing smaller amounts in their pension benefit statements.

“The Republican agenda is more pointed towards evil trial attorneys who rake up fees. The whole issue of litigation and liability is a big one in the US.”

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