Anger is growing among employers and pension funds over the tight timetable the government has set for consultation on changes which could produce big cuts in the future value of final-salary pensions, says the Financial Times .
An independent review is consulting on changes which could remove or reduce the legal requirement to provide some inflation-proofing both for current pensions and for accrued benefits left behind when people change employers.
It is also consulting on making it easier for schemes to raise the pension age in line with greater life expectancy and on making it easier for employers to reclaim surpluses from pension funds.
The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) broadly backs the moves, but Joanne Segars, its chief executive, said: "These are really important issues, which will be controversial and will involve some very tough political decisions if ministers back them. To have just four weeks to comment on them, when it is essential that we get this sort of change right, is incredibly tight.
"We really do need to examine this sort of far-reaching change calmly, without either us or the politicians being bounced into decisions."
Adding to the pressure on the industry, it has just a month to respond to a separate review of the pension regulatory bodies, over whether the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the Pension Regulator and some of the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) functions should be merged, says the paper.
PUBLIC APPROVAL of the Bank of England has slumped to the lowest level in seven years, following the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) surprise interest rate increase in January, reports the Daily Telegraph.
A NOP survey commissioned by the Bank has shown the institution's approval rating slipped from 43% to 37% last month - the lowest level since the survey first started around the turn of the millennium.
The news will cause concern in Threadneedle Street, where the Bank is thought to be mulling a further rate increase in the coming months.
Recent research showed the inflation rate in the UK has hit higher levels than any other major developed country, which has sparked questions about whether the Bank has been taking the right decisions on borrowing costs.
In January, it increased rates to 5.25% - the third rise since last August - a week before figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the Consumer Price Index picked up to 3%, the highest level for well over a decade.
MARTIN CURRIE, the Edinburgh-based fund manager, is now generating just 36% of its business from the UK and plans to cut that over the next few years to 25%, according to the Scotsman.
Chief executive Willie Watt said he wanted to see the Scottish business spread its wings far wider than its Scottish base, with strong operations across the globe.
"We wouldn't want to have a predominantly UK client base. We want to be seen as an international business," Watt said.
The company currently has offices in London, New York and Shanghai, as well as Edinburgh.
Martin Currie's results for the year to the end of December show record new business, revenue and profits, while funds under management were £13.3bn, although they have now broken through the £13.5bn barrier.
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