Pension reform, financial literacy and public information : a case study of the United Kingdom
This paper, the first in a series on public information, and pension reform to explore issues examining a range of country experiences, looks at the experience in the United Kingdom (UK), where a number of initiatives to improve general, and individual pension information, are described, and assessed. The UK pension system is briefly described, to then focus on the consumer knowledge of pensions, and the lack of confidence in a complex and rapidly changing pension system, indifference to retirement-income planning, and problems in getting trustworthy advice. Current and planned initiatives to improve both general pensions, and financial knowledge and information about individual pension rights, - from government financial regulators, and the private sector - are then assessed. Pension reforms in the UK emphasize private funding, rather than state, pay-as-you-go provision, promote defined-contribution, rather than defined-benefit schemes, and in particular they should lead to lower administrative charges with private pensions, and greater flexibility in changing contribution levels as family finances require. The report highlights the importance of the role of public information in preparing for, and promoting reform, in ensuring people understand the choices open to them, and thedecisions they are expected to make, but mostly, public information should address, and ensure the understanding of the pension system.
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