Government's combined pension annual statement may not start in April 2002
The timescale on the Government's planned combined pension annual statements and forecast is too tight, according to some product providers.
By April 2002, pension providers are expected to give pension clients a detailed forecast of their returns based on current fund and level of contribution.
The ABI, which has been campaigning with the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, has said that its negotiations with the Government are indicating a postponement of the implementation date may be forthcoming.
Life companies are concerned that the consultation period is shrinking and that the time given to implement the changes is unrealistically short.
The publication of the consultation document was due to be published in July, it will now not come out until later this month, according to Friends Provident.
Chris Bellers, manager of pensions research and development at Friends Provident, said: 'It's a complete mess and we're not happy about the way it's being implemented. It is slipping back all the time, we won't be able to comply with it on time and neither will anyone else. We will only be given six weeks to respond and that is in the middle of the holiday period.'
Ian Codd, information technology analyst at Friends Provident, predicted it would take 40 to 70 man months to implement the changes. He said: 'A legislative project would take priority and would borrow resources from elsewhere in the company, in this respect, one casualty could be Raising Standards, which is also looking at changing benefit statement information.'
The ABI's Raising Standards Initiative requires insurance companies to ensure that information provided to policy holders is clear and easy to understand. The first wave of companies going for accreditation will be assessed in October.
Nigel Stammers, pensions strategy manager at Clerical Medical, pointed out that the FSA was currently reviewing the way forecasts are made. He said: 'If the plans are postponed for a year, it will allow the industry to implement the money purchase changes, giving the new forecast a consistent basis.'
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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