Independent Scotland could have ‘fresh start’ in pensions regulation

first_imgThe government said it would continue with auto-enrolment, set up an equivalent to a National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), maintain the protection provided by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and set up its own pensions regulator, albeit mimicking the current UK system.However, Wilson said: “There would be an opportunity for an independent Scotland to consolidate and codify all the rules and regulations around workplace pensions and, at the very least, not have the same number of pages we have to grapple with at a UK level.”Malcolm Paul, chairman of JLT Employee Benefits Scotland, agreed, saying the Scottish system could begin with a “fresh start”.He said an independent Scotland would also be free to decide to use one regulator for workplace pensions compared with the two currently used in the UK, a system often criticised.“One potential advantage of independence would be the fresh start,” he said. “Scotland could take the best ideas rather than being hamstrung by what is already in place.”The independent country would also not face as many hurdles in setting up a government-backed pension provider used within auto-enrolment, he said. The UK faced a long legal battle with the European Commission over the creation of NEST, as it contravened rules on state aid for companies operating in a private sector market.Eventually, it was agreed the UK government could loan NEST funding, which would have to be paid off over a number of years, with restrictions placed on NEST’s operations.Wilson said a Scottish NEST would not face as many hurdles, nor would it need such significant financing.“One would think a Scottish NEST would not need the same amount of set-up funds, but the mechanism could be comparable to NEST,” he said. “Scotland would not automatically be a member of the European Union, so it could provide state aid to any business it saw fit to.“But the government would need to consider its aspirations, which is to be a European Union member state.”Aside from creating a new regulatory regime, further detailed information on the future of Scotland’s financial systems remains illusive.Lawyers previously warned that defined benefit members were at risk of losing pension protection over issues arising from setting up a lifeboat fund in an independent Scotland. A ‘yes’ vote on Thursday’s referendum to determine whether Scotland will leave the United Kingdom could see a newly formed Scottish pensions industry being regulated by a simpler and more digestible set of rules, consultants have said.JLT Employee Benefits head of technical John Wilson said independence and the need to create and copy an entire regulatory system would allow Scotland to “consolidate and codify” rules and regulations around workplace pensions.The debate comes as the vote on independence nears, with residents of Scotland expected to take to the polls on 18 September.The current Scottish government and other advocates for independence set out their plans for a future Scottish pensions industry in a paper published in September 2013.last_img read more

More Marquee Women’s Basketball Matchups Await in Week 13

first_imgDouble Doubles: Central Arkansas’ Kierra Jordan put up an 11-point-10-rebound performance last Saturday and ranks first in the league with seven double doubles against conference opponents and eight overall. RPI: Central Arkansas tops the Southland in NCAA RPI rankings at No. 96, while Stephen F. Austin sits just outside the top-100 at No. 113. Defending regular season champion Abilene Christian (13-6, 7-2 SLC) heads to Lamar (13-6, 8-1 SLC) tonight for a pivotal matchup at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN3. The Cardinals are currently riding a five-game win streak and hold sole possession of second place in the standings. The Wildcats sit in fourth place and look to improve their 1-2 road conference record. FRISCO, Texas – The top women’s basketball teams in the conference will again have multiple opportunities to separate themselves from each other as the sixth week of league play begins tonight. Additional Storylines Cardinals’ Margin: Lamar’s high-powered offense tops the Southland at 76.7 points per game, while their No. 2 defense (53.9 points per game) helps them comfortably rank first in scoring margin with +22.8 against league foes. Saturday, Feb. 3McNeese at Northwestern State* (ESPN3) – 1 p.m.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at UIW* – 1 p.m.Central Arkansas at Southeastern Louisiana* (SLCDN) – 2 p.m.Nicholls at New Orleans* – 2 p.m.Stephen F. Austin at Lamar* (ESPN3) – 2 p.m.Abilene Christian at Sam Houston State* (ESPN3) – 3 p.m. Home Sweet Home: Stephen F. Austin stands as the only Division I program to have both its men’s and women’s basketball teams undefeated at home this season. The Lumberjacks are 12-0 while the Ladyjacks are 11-0. New Orleans (11-10, 7-3 SLC) aims to continue its mid-season surge at Northwestern State tonight at 6:30 p.m. The Privateers have rattled off five consecutive conference wins and currently sit in fifth place in the standings. They continue to be led by offensive spearhead Randi Brown, who averages 22.7 points per game in 10 Southland contests, while also possessing the No. 8 scorer in the league, Kayla Mundy (14.6 points per game). * Southland Conference game Wednesday, Jan. 31McNeese at Sam Houston State* (ESPN3) – 6:30 p.m.New Orleans at Northwestern State* – 6:30 p.m.Abilene Christian at Lamar* (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.Southeastern Louisiana at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* – 7 p.m.Stephen F. Austin at Houston Baptist* – 7 p.m. Stephen F. Austin (16-3, 8-0 SLC) puts their record to the test on the road twice this week – first at Houston Baptist (6-13, 2-7 SLC) tonight at 7 p.m. before heading to Lamar on Saturday at 2 p.m. on ESPN3. As one of only three teams with only eight league games played, the Ladyjacks still continue to rank in the top three in scoring offense, scoring defense and scoring margin, assists and steals. This Week’s Matchupslast_img read more

Occupy Portland protesters target defense bill

first_imgPORTLAND — A tense night marked by the arrests of 19 Occupy Portland participants was followed Sunday by a gathering of dozens of local protesters taking issue with a $662 billion defense spending bill.The Oregonian reported some 30 protesters assembled at Salmon Street Springs Fountain in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act.Protesters noted language in a version passed 93-7 by the Senate version that says U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism can be detained indefinitely.“The thing that concerns me is reflections on McCarthyism, where anybody suspected of being a Communist was detained and abused, essentially,” said march organizer Terris Harned, 32. “Our main concern and our main goal is to raise awareness. This bill has very much flown under the radar, and we don’t think people have been made aware enough about it.”The U.S. House of Representatives has not voted on its version of the bill.The defense bill protest followed activity the night before at South Park.Officers moved protesters from South Park blocks around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, after the park was closed a half hour early, Sgt. Pete Simpson said.But 19 who refused to leave or resisted were arrested, held with flex cuffs and hauled away by police, he said.He said the arrests came amid “reports of demonstrators setting up structures in what appeared to be an attempt take over the park.”Occupy Portland protesters set up tents in a portion of the park that runs through Southwest Portland earlier Saturday and vowed to stay through the winter, defying city officials who said overnight camping will not be allowed.last_img read more