The idea is part of a 'white paper' launched last night by JLT Employee Benefits at a Liberal Democrat conference event in Glasgow, where automatic enrolment into pensions at work was debated by a panel featuring Westminster pensions minister Steve Webb.
"In relation to pension scheme charges, providers should be required to follow the practice of some utilities by introducing 'tariff checks' and telling consumers when they might save money by moving their pension savings," the JLT paper says. It says all auto-enrolment schemes should provide advice to members on their retirement options, companies winding down final salary schemes should be allowed more flexibility, and the government should promote a major focus on health at work to enable people to work longer.
On Mr Webb's plans facing resistance from the industry, for a "pot follows member" guarantee for anyone moving jobs, JLT says: "The concept of automatic transfers should be extended to all transfers. However, to protect members from fraud and from themselves, trustees should be allowed to refuse a transfer request where they have a reasonably founded concern that pensions liberation is taking place."
The minister has said the government was working to "stamp out" pensions liberation fraud, which an industry expert said costs at least £500 million a year in lost savings.
Malcolm Paul, chairman of JLT Employee Benefits Scotland which employs 200, said auto-enrolment had so far recorded extremely low opt-out rates even in times of austerity, and was a significant step forward. "The focus should now be on ensuring that every £1 paid by members is made to work as hard as possible to improve retirement incomes."
The paper also proposes that member communications should "focus on pension outcomes, expressed as a replacement income, not fund values", and that consideration be given to a "pension risk simulator" to illustrate the uncertainties of future benefits, which could be run by the Pensions Regulator or Money Advice Service.
A recent report by JLT found a significant proportion of large employers taking little interest in their pension schemes or their employees' health and fitness, with only one company in five in Scotland offering 'salary sacrifice' to boost contributions and only 23% giving employees help with buying their annuity on retirement.