Personal Accounts will be a "beautiful, wonderful product" not "a default option for low earners", according to the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA).
Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds Annual Conference last week, Tim Jones, PADA's chief executive, said: "I promise we are doing the best we can. I hope you realise we are serious about doing this and it is honestly going very well."
Jones, whose organisation has been tasked with creating the Personal Accounts scheme, addressed delegates only a day after research from YouGov for Jardine Lloyd Thompson found just 6% of employers understand what personal accounts are, 38% of businesses have no idea of how to introduce them, and only 4% are positive about them.
The Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed a major publicity campaign will start in January to inform employers of their obligations.
Jones said: "The scheme will launch in 2011, to give employers a year to get ready. The majority of small enterprises are not engaged with the scheme today, but we will implement an aggressive timetable [to inform them].
"This will be a transparent and low-cost scheme and we will create something very exciting. We are giving staff something that will be really valuable."
Commenting in the same session at the conference, Caroline Rookes, senior responsible official for the Enabling Retirement Saving Programme at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "We are well on the way to delivering for 2012 - but it is a wide-ranging and complex reform.
"The pensions industry wants to protect its schemes with as little effort as possible. We haven't reached a solution - but we think we are on track for 2012."
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