NAPF conference: Fears allayed over online personal accounts plans

Plans to administer and manage elements of Personal Accounts online have prompted fears about technical problems experienced by the NHS and other public sector organisations.

But Tim Jones, CEO of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), reassured delegates at the NAPF annual conference in Glasgow who expressed concerns over technical problems.

Jones had told delegates Personal Accounts will be administered online and there would be no paperwork for personal accounts when they are introduced in 2012. Annual statements and other related documentation will instead be accessed by members electronically.

Responding to questions from the floor about the possibility of Personal Accounts being afflicted by similar technical problems as the NHS project, he defended the plans.

He reassured delegates that the delivery of personal accounts would be utilising the expertise and efficiency of private sector professionals.

Jones discussed plans to introduce independent call centre-based agents that that could manage personal accounts on the behalf of consenting members. And he said the big change for employers in 2012 will be auto-enrolment not personal accounts.

“All employers in this country have to auto-enrol most of their workforce in a qualifying workplace pension and for many that will be into the pensions they have”, he said.

“I have got to put in place a business model that allows the right things to happen and does what’s best for the low to middle to low income earners who will support this scheme.”

A response to the authority’s consultation on the charging structures of personal accounts is due to be published.

Further consultations on potential approaches to investment and decumulation will carried out before the end of the year. And a consultation on scheme order and rules of personal accounts will be carried out in 2009.

Anyone over the age of 22 earning between £5035 and £33,450 qualifies for Personal Accounts.