Employers set to take part in personal accounts trial

Key employers are being lined up to pilot personal accounts ahead of their introduction in 2012, according to industry experts.

An insider said large employers that are likely to implement personal accounts once auto-enrolment and compulsory employer contributions begin in 2012 are being hand-picked to take part in a trial.

Retail has been suggested as a possible sector where the schemes might be piloted because they traditionally have a low joining rate for occupational pension schemes, as well as a large workforce.

A spokesman for the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (Pada) said: “As with any major new product development, we are looking at what testing, prototyping and piloting will be necessary to ensure a smooth and successful launch. No decisions have yet been made, but we anticipate firming up our plans over the next few months as we move, subject to Royal Assent of the Pensions Bill 2007/8, into the procurement phase of the programme.”

Steve Delo, president of the Pensions Management Institute, said: “I would imagine it will have to do some form of piloting with employers who have pre-decided to go down that route.”

Personal accounts will be a trust-based occupational pension scheme, run by a trustee corporation independent of government. They are intended to complement, not replace, existing workplace pensions provision.