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Report calls for Government-backed service offering pensions advice

A report on retirement plans has found that 41% of savers do not understand pensions and calls for a 'National Wealth Service' to educate employees on their options.

Flexibility in Retirement – Planning for Change suggests an increase on the tax break of £150 for employers offering retirement advice, saying it would help savers understand their retirement options. 

The report's author, independent pensions expert Ros Altmann, believes the effect would be significant. 

“These regulatory changes could have a dramatic impact on the advice industry and provide greater protection for customers who would otherwise not have access to the first-class service of an adviser," she said. 

From 2015, the Government has pledged that all members of a defined contribution (DC) pensions scheme will receive face-to-face financial advice, although some experts have questioned the viability of this. 

An older workforce

The report also includes a survey of over 1,000 working adults in the UK. It found that 71% would be happy to work beyond retirement age

Continuing in work can have substantial financial benefits for employees, the report says. The research suggests that just one year of full-time work or two years of part-time work can increase a pension pot by 11%, significantly increasing retirement savings. 

However, separate findings in the report suggest that not all employers would welcome employees staying on, with 38% worried about the impact of an older workforce. Almost one-quarter (22%) believe this would lead to increased costs for their business. 

A spokesman for pensions specialists MetLife UK told HR magazine while there are benefits for employees extending their working life, it does raise challenges for organisations. 

"The benefits for staff in working longer are that they will build bigger pension funds and have more comfortable retirements," he said. "But there are costs involved for employers in administration and adapting to part-time work."