Pension advisers to tour UK workplaces

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Teams of financial advisers will be sent into offices and factories to encourage workers to join their company pension schemes and save more for retirement, under a government initiative being launched tomorrow.

The free service, being co-ordinated by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) in conjunction with the Engineering Employers' Federation and trade unions, was given the backing of the Department for Work and Pensions last week and will begin later this year.

Volunteer advisers will talk to staff about the benefits of joining workplace schemes, how their company's plan works and why they need to save more for retirement. The "Pensions Force" initiative also aims to act as a "trusted third party" for those on low incomes, giving them help that they could not afford to get from large firms of independent financial advisers.

The move comes after Lord Turner's Pensions Commission report found that rising life expectancy, falls in the stock markets and the closure of company pension schemes had helped create a £57bn gap between what we are saving and what we will need to live comfortably in retirement.

The initiative also represents a way for the NAPF to argue that the Government should not bring in automatic pension scheme enrolment in its spring White Paper on pensions. This measure was advocated in the Turner report, but the NAPF argues that it will add significantly to the financial burden placed on the already dwindling number of employers offering final salary schemes.

The NAPF's director of policy, Joanne Segars, said: "Around three million people do not join an occupational-based pension scheme even though one is open to them. So many people who could do so are not taking advantage of a fund which will help to ensure they have an adequate income in retirement."