Are workers in the U.K. better prepared for retirement thanthose in the U.S.?

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And could actions taken by the U.K. government offer possiblesolutions to the impending U.S. retirement crisis?

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Those are some of the questions asked in a blog post fromGeorgetown University’s Center for Retirement Initiatives, whichlooked at actions taken by the British government over a period ofyears to set in place a system of mandatory retirement savingssimilar to that used by the Australian government.

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According to the post, the National Employment Savings Trust(NEST) Corporation, which is responsible for operating the NESTpension plan on an ongoing basis, has auto-enrolled some 2.8million U.K. workers otherwise uncovered by a pension plan, andwill auto-enroll millions of additional workers over the course ofthe next few years.

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But the road hasn’t been a smooth one, nor has progress comewithout cost.

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Read: Expert calls White House's multiemployerretirement proposal shortsighted

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The program was made possible by a multiyear loan from theBritish government, and in addition to an annual fee for assetsunder management, NEST charges each participant a 1.8 percentone-time charge on contributions to recover the start-up costs.

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With states in the U.S. concocting a patchwork of plans using avariety of provisions, the blog post said that the U.K.’s effortsprovide “state governments in the U.S. with critically importantinsights in how they should proceed down the retirement savingsreform path….”

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Read: Munnell calls for mandated auto-enrollment in401(k)s, IRAs

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Among those insights are the need to ensure that any new program“supplements and not supplants already existing retirementprograms,” as well as making sure that employers who aren’t alreadyoffering a qualifying retirement savings program are required toenroll employees in a qualifying arrangement.

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There’s also the need to “invest the resources—both money andtalent—in a Board or Task Force to design and create effectiveimplementation strategies that would finalize the design of andadminister a state retirement savings program,” as well as a meansfor “commercial vendors to participate in these newly createdmarkets for retirement savings.”

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Should all these conditions be met, the post said, there arestill three “success drivers” to consider: “a viable, explainablevision to address the retirement coverage gap; … the political willto see it through; and … a properly resourced, effectively ledeffort to implement it.”

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