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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Watchdog warns on risky pensions
A woman protesting over pensions
Eroded pension funds have fuelled anger and resentment in the UK
Up to 300 occupational pension schemes are at risk of collapsing, according to the Pensions Regulator.

The watchdog has announced plans to monitor at-risk schemes and intervene if necessary in order to protect the benefits of workers.

It also wants to ease the potential burden on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), set up to administer funds left in deficit by insolvent companies.

A year after being set up, the PPF has taken on at least 40 insolvent schemes.

Poor pension trustees

In a strategy report published on Friday, the Pensions Regulator said it had serious concerns about the level of pension trustees' "knowledge and understanding", particularly those looking after funds with under 1,000 members.

"Our experience is that the standard of governance of many schemes, particularly smaller ones, is poor."

The regulator said that other priorities for the next few years would be to ensure that employers funded their schemes more fully and that workers understood the risks of defined-contribution (also known as money purchase) schemes, which are set to become the main form of retirement saving.

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