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Archived Annuities News / Income Drawdown News

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Government contemplating fund for defined-contribution pension schemes

Pension Minister Steve Webb has confirmed that the government is looking at ways to “underpin” a guarantee for members of defined-contribution (DC) pension schemes.

Speaking at an Institute and Faculty of Actuaries event in London this week, Mr Webb argued that discussions were already underway about the possibility of a Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for DC schemes.

He said: “We already have the PPF for defined-benefit schemes, but could you have a protection fund for defined-contribution tail risk which might not be subject to the solvency requirements the industry faces? That is an idea we are exploring at the moment.”

Established in 2005, the PPF is designed to provide compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes should their employers become insolvent.

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) sources have argued if the government forges ahead with the proposal, set-up costs would more than likely need to be met by industry rather than the state.

Although it is unclear whether the levy for the scheme would be paid by pension providers or employers, Mr Webb said that he hopes the DC guarantee could be underpinned “without requiring providers to hold massive amounts of extra capital.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail, said that he remains sceptical about the possibility of such a scheme.

He said: “It would be great if this can be made to happen but I am sceptical as to whether this is actually achievable. The industry’s track record in delivering guarantees to savers has not been good. The cost of the guarantees is still likely to add a substantial amount to the cost of the product.”

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