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Pickering warns of ‘delivery disaster’

The Government has begun its search for someone to lead the personal accounts delivery authority.

The successful candidate to become chairman must be an “outstanding strategist, an inspirational leader and communicator with experience as a main board director or chair of a major commercial operation, ideally in the financial services industry”.

The chairman will have to commit just two days a week for the first two years. A non-executive director is also being sought for around 15 days a year.

Applications for both roles have to be received by May 8, with the Government expecting to fill the jobs by the summer.

At a debate on pension personal accounts hosted by Scottish Widows this week, former National Association of Pension Funds head Alan Pickering warned of disastrous consequences if the Government passes responsibility for major decisions about the structure of personal accounts to the delivery authority.

He said: “It is not the delivery authority’s job to make public policy, such as deciding the contribution cap. There is a danger of shovelling liability and all the difficult problems away from the Government to the board. If we do not get this right, then disaster will ensue.”

Pensions minister James Purnell said: “We should not pass Governmental responsibilities on to the delivery authority.”

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