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Pickering wants OPP compulsion for staff

Employers wanting to make membership of their group pension or stakeholder scheme a condition of employment would have to make contributions to the plan under proposals from the Pickering review.

Alan Pickering&#39s long awaited report has yet to be published but many of his plans have already emerged.

The move to reintroduce the option for employers to make scheme membership compulsory has been welcomed by pension experts, who expect an employer contribution of 3 per cent to be the benchmark.

But many think the plans are unlikely to fill empty stakeholder schemes as only companies already committed to providing pensions would make the move towards compulsion.

Proposals for scrapping parts of the state pension scheme, such as the new top-up state second pension have also had mixed reactions.

Scottish Equitable pensions development director Stewart Ritchie is particularly concerned that the ability to contract out of the state system may disappear. He says having strong private pension pro- vision is key to saving.

More concurrency is also on the cards after partial concurrency for people in occupational schemes earning under £30,000 has been widely derided in the industry as an unnecessary complication.

Scottish Life head of pensions strategy Steve Bee says: “It is really sensible to reinstate pensions as a condition of employment. It should never have been removed in the first instance. But the watchword is still suitability. Pickering has got to deal with the interface with means-testing so no one is hurt by saving in a pension.”

Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “If compulsion was just for occupational schemes, it would be a killer blow for stakeholder. But an employer with a few staff is not likely to want to make it compulsory.”

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