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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Lacklustre stakeholder debut
Alistair Darling launching stakeholder pensions earlier this year
Disappointing debut for stakeholder pensions
Figures from the Association of British Insurers have confirmed a disappointing start for stakeholder pensions.

Fewer than 90,000 employers have so far set-up a scheme for their staff.


Employers will play a key role in the autumn in boosting take up of stakeholder pensions, particularly by people with modest incomes who need to save for their retirement

Mary Francis
ABI

This means that up to 400,000 companies are in danger of breaching rules which state that such schemes must be in place by 8 October.

About 225,000 people have so far bought their policies either through their workplace or by themselves.

Deadline looming

The figures released by the Association of British Insures (ABI) on Monday account for the period up to 30 June.

The are arguably the most accurate figures published so far.

The ABI, which is the insurance and pensions industry trade body, only failed to collate information from one company - receiving data from 46 out of 47 stakeholder providers.

Workers in an office
Employers must meet October 8 deadline

Under stakeholder rules companies with five employees or more must make a stakeholder pensions available to them - if they do not already offer a pension scheme.

Although stakeholder pensions were introduced on 6 April, employers have been given until October to make a scheme available to staff.

However, failure to meet the 8 October deadline could result in a fine up to 50,000.

The government is in the process of writing to about 400,000 companies, who could be obliged to designate a stakeholder pension scheme for their employees.

Mary Francis, director general of the ABI said: "Employers will play a key role in the autumn in boosting take up of stakeholder pensions, particularly by people with modest incomes who need to save for their retirement."

The Department for Work and Pensions has a guide to stakeholder pensions for employers. Call 0845 7646646 for a copy of the guide. Alternatively, the Inland Revenue has a helpline. Telephone 0845 7143143.

See also:

05 Aug 01 | Business
Firms delay on stakeholder pensions
06 Apr 01 | Business
New pensions go on sale
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