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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2004): Pensions - UK

ARE TRUSTEES REQUIRED TO GIVE REASONS? THE ARGUMENT AGAINST

R. Evans

Pensions, Vol. 9, 2003, p.124-130

The article examines the case law allowing trustees to keep their reasons for decisions confidential. It explains the duties of trustees and the court's interpretation of these. The author argues that disclosure of reasons can lead to bad feeling and that the right of confidentiality protects against speculative complaints and litigation. On a practical level, in a diverse group of trustees each may have their own reasons for their decision and putting together a single set of reasons may be futile. The article concludes by citing Wilson V Law Debenture, a 1995 case that stated that unless there is evidence to the contrary, a trustee is presumed to have exercised his discretion properly.

ASPECTS OF THE ECONOMICS OF AN AGEING POPULATION

Select Committee on Economic Affairs

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Lords papers, session 2002/03; HL179)

By 2051, it is predicted that 25% 0f the UK population will be aged over 65. Report examines ways in which this demographic challenge can be met. It emphasises the importance of increasing the labour force participation of older workers, and recommends that the present contributory state pension system should be replaced by one based on citizenship entitlement. Goes on to assess the opportunities available for making private provision for retirement. Concludes that, in spite of inadequate voluntary private pension saving, further compulsion, in addition to that which is already in place under the national insurance system, is not inevitable. Finally deals with the excessive complexity of the public pension system, noting particularly the effects of means testing, which include high marginal tax rates and reduced incentives to save. Assesses whether the UK faces a pensions crisis and recommends the establishment of an independent authority to provide more stability and certainty in the design and implementation of appropriate pensions policies.

RETIREMENT AGE: ECONOMIC OUTCOME OR SOCIAL CHOICE? PENSION POLICIES AND RETIREMENT PRACTICES

T. Salter

Pensions, Vol. 9, 2003, p.148-162

In this first of two papers, the author explores how the age of retirement could become a social choice rather than an outcome of economic circumstances. The history of pension policies and retirement practices is outlined, and the notion of a retirement age, and how it is related to old age, examined. Finally the paper considers whether there is any evidence to suggest that employees wish to choose the time of their retirement.

SHOULD TRUSTEES GIVE REASONS FOR DECISIONS? THE ARGUMENT FOR

T. Cox

Pensions, Vol. 9, 2003, p.118-123

The article argues that trustees should give reasons for their decisions to members affected by them. The author cites a recent case, Mr. C. Allen V TKM Group Pension Trust Limited, in which the plaintiff complained that the trustees would not explain their refusal to allow him an early retirement pension. The pension ombudsman states that although there is no legal duty of disclosure and therefore no breech in the law this doesn't mean there was no maladministration. Different types of trustee decision are also summarised. The article concludes that if trustees have confidence in their reasons there is no reason not to disclose them.

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