Pickering to head new review of pension rules

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The Government launched a review of private pension legislation yesterday, amid fears that red tape – including measures to combat money laundering – was slowing the take-up of personal pensions.

Alistair Darling, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said he wanted to simplify pensions policy and cut the cost of complying with legislation. "Complexity makes it difficult for pension scheme members to understand how their scheme is run and provides scope for bad practice to continue," he said.

Alan Pickering, the former chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds and a partner at the actuary Watson Wyatt, is to head the 10-month enquiry. Current legislation appeared to be counterproductive, he said, and discouraged both employees and the self-employed from using personal pensions in retirement planning. The existing framework was designed for a high-inflation environment and was no longer relevant to today's world, Mr Pickering said, making a review of pension schemes' obligations regarding inflation protection long overdue.