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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Most workers see employers as best pension providers

Working Britons have more faith in their employers than in the government when it comes to pensions, according to new research published by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

In a survey of 500 working people, nearly three-quarters (73%) were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ confident about their employer as a pension provider. By contrast, when asked how much they trust the government to ensure adequate pensions, 53% said ‘a little’ and 38% said ‘not at all’.

NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish said: ‘Even at a time when confidence in the pensions system is fragile, Britain’s company pension schemes remain the most trusted source of retirement provision for millions of today’s workers. Many employers are finding innovative and practical ways of retaining pension schemes in the face of growing pressures, while employees show growing signs of awareness of the importance of a good company pension.

‘But the government can and should be an active partner in this process. Measures announced so far go some way to addressing the problems of complexity and insecurity, but more can be done to encourage those who provide pensions and those who benefit from them. Failure to do so could mean a growing savings gap and a growing pensions problem for the future.’

Other key findings include:

  • more than nine out of ten (91%) agreed that the government should improve incentives for employers to offer pensions;
  • 67% of respondents felt fairly confident of having a comfortable retirement (compared with 72% in 2002) despite the fact that the average amount being saved in pensions was only 5% of pay;
  • the average age at which people expected to retire was 61, though over-55s anticipated working until they were 64;
  • half thought they weren’t saving enough for retirement; and
  • 57% said they would be prepared to work either full-time or part-time beyond the standard retirement age in order to earn a better pension.