Punter Southall research: Senior management will be less engaged with pensions due to tax changes

More than 40% of senior management staff will be less engaged with their pension schemes as a result of tax changes introduced on 6 April 2011, according to research by pension actuaries Punter Southall.

The survey also shows that around 20% of respondents have already had experience of members wishing to opt out of pension schemes in the light of the new tax regime.

Only 12% of respondents described themselves as fully prepared and, while 50% said they were almost ready for the changes, a sizeable percentage indicated that they still had a lot left to do (24%) or were not at all ready (5%).

In terms of the work that has been done so far, around 90% of respondents indicated that communications with pension scheme members about tax changes had been sent or were planned in the near future.

Jane Beverley, head of research at Punter Southall, said: “It was widely considered that the previous government’s policy of pensions taxation for high earners would lead to a high degree of disengagement among high earners.

“Today’s survey results make clear that, even under the amended policy based on a reduced annual allowance, the restriction of tax relief has had a disincentive effect on some high earners, with around 40% of respondents thinking that senior management would be less engaged in schemes over the longer term.

“The government should monitor the implementation of this policy carefully to ensure that it does not conflict with its intention of encouraging workplace pensions savings.”

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