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‘Lack of clarity’ stalling pensions reforms

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A lack of information on proposed pensions reform is preventing providers from making changes in time for the implementation date of April 2015, according to NAPF chairman Ruston Smith.

Speaking at the NAPF’s annual pensions conference in Liverpool, Smith urged the government to make the details of the reforms clearer to avoid leaving providers and employers on the back foot next April.

“There's no denying the proposition is exciting and compelling for savers,” he said. “But for those of us at the sharp end who have to deliver this, April’s not far away.”

Speaking at the same event, Association of British Insurers director general Otto Thoresen warned that “the reality of what happens in April 2015 may be very different from people’s expectations”.

He added that experts in the pensions industry are reluctant or unable to prepare for April 2015 until government makes more information available.

“If you take guidance guarantee as an example, only when we know what’s coming in April will we know what needs to be done,” he explained.

Group pensions director at Whitbread Lesley Williams said due to the strict implementation timelines, employers may not be able to have the schemes they would like in place.

“I would one day like to see a way that we can provide employees with incomes from our workplace schemes, but come next April we won’t have the infrastructure in place to administer that,” she said. “And I’m concerned this will affect how schemes are run in the future.”