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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Opra criticised

The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) has announced that it is to begin a year-long campaign to check whether employers are complying with stakeholder pensions requirements; it is, however, a waste of time and resources that that will do nothing to help widen pension provision in the UK, according to Grant Thornton’s financial markets group.

‘What Opra should spend its time and money doing is chase employers and individuals that threaten the protection of members’ pension benefits. There seems to be little to be gained in pursuing employers that have neglected to designate a stakeholder pension scheme to their employees. Stakeholder legislation has failed in its aims. While most employers have made stakeholder pensions available, as they should have done, the majority have no employer contribution. There has been compulsion on employers to create a facility to save for pensions that achieves very little when the majority do not want it. While the concept of encouraging savings for pensions at low charge is good, what is flawed is the basis that the government has used to try to encourage pensions savings’, said Patrick Storey, partner within Grant Thornton’s financial markets group.