The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) has released a shortlist of administration firms it is considering for the contract to manage the new pension plans.
The website said PADA has completed its evaluation of the pre-qualification questionnaires and invited short-listed suppliers to take part in the next state of the procurement process -which is called competitive dialogue
It said the process was commercially sensitive and it is "therefore not appropriate to provide any further details at this stage".
The competitive dialogue stage is expected to last a few months and the contract will not be signed until June 2010.
A PADA spokeswoman says: "PADA's priority has been to identify suppliers with experience of running very large-scale defined-contribution pension arrangements. We are confident our bidders are building on internal expertise relevant to the specifics of this projects and bringing additional skills where required."
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