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Will stakeholder be all bark and no bite?

On your marks, get set, woof.

If the stakeholder pension is rated in terms of the number of ridiculous puns it produces from the country&#39s personal finance hacks, then success is guaranteed.

The theme is working dogs but, rather than dour hill-country types, these sheepdogs are a cutesy, talkative sort.

New Labour&#39s campaign is better than the previous attempt at cajoling people to take more personal responsibility for their retirement. Thankfully, we are spared the breaking chains.

But at the unveiling of the campaign, Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling refused to be drawn on how success will be measured or even how many consumer guides had been published. It could be open season for the spin doctors.

Advisers understand there is more to selling pensions than advertising and are acutely aware of the Government&#39s failure to factor in distribution costs.

Despite Darling&#39s own statement that the public should seek advice, advisers have been ignored. Yet IFAs may still come to his rescue with entre pren eurial solutions.

As a result, there may be some small increase in those taking pensions, particularly as employers must provide access, but we suspect that any increase will involve those who can afford it. There is little in this campaign to suggest the unpensioned masses will make provision.

The Secretary of State must be careful the softly, softly approach is not too soft. We think compulsion is several years away but at some point in the next decade those working dogs may have to bare their teeth and show that they can bite.

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