UK pensions shake-up could be a boost

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The Queen's Speech is expected to unveil new pension pot options.


Radical changes to UK workplace pensions are set to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech this week. Supporters of the new system claim the shake-up could boost retirement incomes by thousands of pounds and provide more freedom and flexibility.

 

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The move will see staff being given the option to put their money into “collective pensions”, which are shared with thousands of other members.

The plan is based on similar schemes in the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

The ‘Dutch’ shared pension pots are regarded by many as a safe investment as they are less vulnerable to stock market variations.

The changes, which many say are designed to give better value for pensioners, could be in place as early as 2016.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb has described the collective schemes, also called “mega funds”, as “some of the best in the world”.

Mr Webb told UK newspaper The Sunday Telegraph that the key advantage is “pooling risk” of investments performing worse than expected across large numbers of people of different ages, “just like car insurance or the NHS”.

Critics warn that pensioners only have a “target” for what they will get in retirement, rather than a guarantee, as is the case with a fixed annuity.

This means that, in some cases, pensioners could see their incomes fall if the collective fund’s investments fail to generate the expected profits.

 

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