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Pension reform: Reckless bosses who plunder staff pensions to face seven years in jail

Pension reform: Reckless bosses who plunder staff pensions to face seven years in jail 1

Ministers said the package of measures would make Britain the “best place in the world” to retire. “With this Bill, we’re pushing ahead with our revolutionary pensions agenda and delivering for the millions of people brought into saving for later life by our reforms,” Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said. “We’re ensuring those who put pension schemes in jeopardy feel the full force of the law, transforming the way people get information about their retirement savings and introducing a new pension that could boost returns for millions.

“This legislation is the crucial next step in making the UK the best place in the world to retire.”

The legislation will crackdown on company bosses who run pension schemes into the ground or raid them to line their own pockets by giving regulators tougher powers to bring them to book.

It follows a number of high-profile company pensions scandals, including at BHS.

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A year after it was sold by Sir Philip Green for £1 in 2015, the retailer collapsed into administration, leaving a £571million pension deficit.

Sir Philip later agreed to pay £363million towards it to end action against him by the Pensions Regulator.

The watchdog claimed Sir Philip sold the business to avoid responsibility for its pension schemes if the firm went bust.

But the reforms set out in the Bill are also aimed at making it easier for savers to secure a better retirement.

Online pension trackers that give savers instant information about their nest eggs will allow workers to see all of their pensions pots pulled together on a “dashboard” as well as their potential retirement income.

Industry leaders hope it will mean an end to the “£20billion pensions mountain” of forgotten funds that employees lose track of when they change jobs or move home.

The legislation will also allow the UK’s first Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme to be launched. 

The Dutch-style retirement system pools risks and give savers more stability and could lead to a bigger retirement income for the same cost.

A Commons Work and Pensions committee probe found CDCs allow companies to offer good pensions to their staff without the risk of large long-term pension liabilities on their balance sheets, while workers are given a regular income in retirement.

It said several studies had found the schemes can offer more generous and predictable benefits than individual defined contribution provisions.

Savers could be better off by up to 7 percent a year, according to its analysis.

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