Robert Laslett: Personal Accounts to Improve Pension Coverage and Adequacy: The UKs Proposed Pension Reforms and Lessons for other EU Countries

Monday, 11 June, 2007, 12:30pm, Vienna, Austria
Seminar Room at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research
Berggasse 17, 1090 Vienna

The seminar will be jointly organised by the Economic Studies Division of the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

Contact: Asghar Zaidi

Robert Laslett, Chief Economist and Director of Analysis and Stewardship, Pensions Client Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions, UK.
Robert Laslett is a member of DWP's leadership team on pension reform. His Directorate provides economic advice on pension policy issues, and undertakes social and economic research to inform longer-term strategy. Robert has pursued a career as a professional economist in the public and private sectors, both in the UK and overseas. Prior to joining DWP, he worked at CRA International on financial services, at the World Bank on country lending programmes and country risk analysis, at HM Treasury, and in Malawi as a Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute.

Highlights of the seminar:
The UK pensions system faces the underlying demographic challenges that are common to many European countries, but they present themselves in a specific way. The fiscal cost of the public pension system appears sustainable, but the private occupational and personal pensions that complement it have become less affordable. Accordingly the UK faces issues about improving private pension coverage and providing cheaper, more reliable and rewarding mechanisms for retirement savings.
Robert will talk about how the UK is planning to introduce a new employee right to employer pension contributions, automatic enrolment into employer schemes, and a system of personal accounts to try to enhance pension coverage and savings. The talk will describe the personal accounts scheme and how it aims to minimise costs, maximise membership and avoid "levelling down" on the part of employer schemes. It will also touch on the regulatory obstacles to reform, including EU Directives.
The topic is highly relevant given the current pension reform debate in the European Union, as many countries are also adopting personal accounts systems. As yet, there is not enough analytical work on how best to keep the scheme management costs to a minimum, how best to improve membership of such schemes, maintain a good contributory principle, etc. Robert will talk about how the UK's proposed pension reforms address these issues, and whether there may be lessons for other EU countries.

International seminar series:
The seminar was part of the series of international seminars that are organised by the European Centre debating the impact of population ageing
See details of our other International Seminars
The seminar is by invitation only, and there are a limited number of places available for those who register by sending an email to hovenier