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Ritchie urges caution on compulsion

Scottish Equitable is calling for a full industry debate on compulsory pensions, believing the current view favouring compulsion is a knee-jerk reaction to the perceived failure of stakeholder.

In his latest Ritchie Paper, pensions development director Stewart Ritchie outlines three options. These include keeping the status quo, with limited compulsion for employers and employees through the state earnings-related pension scheme and its replacement state second pension, or increasing the level of compulsion.

The final alternative is to soften the burden of compulsion by offering employers tax incentives as an encouragement to contribute to employees&#39 private provision.

Ritchie says: “We are seeing a knee-jerk reaction in favour of private pension compulsion as a means of overcoming the perception that stakeholder is not succeeding in the way the Government might have liked. But we should not be too quick to label stakeholder as a failure.

“Even if the conclusion is that more must be done to raise the level of private pension saving, the industry must fully debate the questions of compulsion, both pragmatic and philosophical. In doing so, we must explore all other possible options that might effectively be used to achieve the aim of better pensions for all.”

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