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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

JLT proposes five-point plan to improve DC provision

JLT Benefit Solutions has proposed a five-point plan to improve defined contribution (DC) pension provision in the UK in response to The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) discussion paper on enabling ‘good member outcomes’, which it believes will help the Regulator and employers deliver positive outcomes. These are outlined below:

1. TPR should take a more proactive role in outlining good practice to employers
Duncan Howorth, chief executive of JLT Benefit Solutions, commented: "Too often the advisory industry promotes good practice but many employers fail to deliver. We need TPR to play a more active role in industry initiatives, ensuring that good practice is benchmarked and promoted. Sitting back and then, with the benefit of hindsight, saying more could have been done is wasted effort."

2. Master Trusts MUST have trustees independent of service providers
John Wilson, head of research at JLT Benefit Solutions, said: "The recognition of a greater role for Master Trust schemes is very significant in TPR’s findings. JLT Benefit Solutions has long held the view that Master Trusts must have trustees independent of the service provider. This is crucial from a governance perspective and to ensure these arrangements, which could be the optimum DC solution for many employers, offer rigorous governance and produce positive member outcomes."

3. TPR should improve the marketing of itself to employers and continue to clarify and emphasise the employer-role in promoting their pension schemes
Howorth commented: "The fact that employers are still in the dark over their role, risks and responsibilities in promoting pensions to employees is the strongest indication possible that TPR needs to do more. TPR must become more engaged, more relevant and responsive."

4. The market must focus on improved governance of group personal pensions (GPPs)
Howorth added: "GPPs are rapidly forming the backbone of UK pension provision. With this trend likely to continue, the absence of any recognised or accepted governance structure and encouragement to engage with members will become all the more conspicuous. This is of major importance."

5. Auto-enrolment and NEST is not the panacea - success should be measured by good levels of retirement outcomes, not just compliance and costs
Howorth continued: "There is a focus on NEST, large schemes and charges across the discussion paper. Adequate retirement incomes will only be delivered by ensuring sufficient savings are being put into the members ‘funds’ and not merely the minima outlined in legislation. This will not happen without proper engagement and encouragement by all parties. There is an important role to be played by advisers and service providers in raising engagement and awareness - both in the adequacy of contribution levels and relevance of investment funds"

Howorth concluded: "We believe that concentrating on these five key issues will go a long way to improving DC pension provision in the UK beyond the introduction of Auto-enrolment and NEST.