• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

    From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

  • pensionsandsavings.com

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    Category: Auto-Enrolment, Private Pensions and NEST

    Helping low earners’ pensions – Glad to see Government’s Call for Evidence

    Helping low earners’ pensions – Glad to see Government’s Call for Evidence

    Government calls for evidence on addressing scandal of lowest earners paying 25% extra for their pensions.  Over one million low-paid women are unknowingly auto-enrolled into employer schemes which leave them with lower take-home pay. Who is looking after these lowest earners who surely need every penny of their pay and their pensions and cannot protect themselves against the income loss.  Short-term fixes could include requiring employers to use suitable schemes for low earners or for schemes and employers to ensure…

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    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    FCA concerns about ‘significant risks of harm’ from pension freedoms are valid, but do not mean freedoms are wrong. Consumers are facing new risks, but it is right to allow people to manage their pensions over time, rather than requiring most to just buy a standard annuity.  Original policy intention of ensuring everyone receives impartial guidance or advice before taking money from their pension was absolutely right, but this is not happening in practice.  Without impartial guidance or advice, consumers…

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    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Well done to Government and the Pensions Regulator for emergency pension measures. Protecting the principle of auto-enrolment is hugely important. But allowing employers leeway to delay deficit contributions during current crisis makes sense. Allowing schemes’ trustees to suspend transfers for at least three months can protect members against scams and allow more time to assess more reliable valuations. The Government and the Pensions Regulator deserve plaudits, in my view, for announcing bold emergency measures to address some of the potential…

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    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Two important pension crisis measures to help protect consumers and improve records:  Stop all pension transfers for six months. Ensure pension administrators start to reconcile records, cleanse and validate data to improve accuracy of pension information. These two emergency measures are designed to stabilise pension schemes, avoid further losses to scammers and improve the reliability of pension data, so that accurate past records and a reliable dashboard will be more quickly and readily achieved. Put All Pension Transfers on hold…

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    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension scam risks increase with people at home and markets in meltdown.   More people likely to be caught by cold-calling or online scammers.  Urgent Regulatory action and early warning systems required to improve consumer protection. Parliamentarians support new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams.  More people at home gives more easy targets for fraudsters: As more people are forced to stay at home during the current coronavirus crisis and investment markets have plunged, the risks of cold-calling criminals or…

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    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Gender Pensions Gap much worse than Gender Pay Gap. Women lose out in both State and Private pensions because of their social role. Budget could fix pension system cracks that women are falling through. Let’s close gender pensions gap and encourage women to take responsibility for their pensions. Ahead of International Women’s Day, I thought it might be timely to write about the shocking gap between men and women’s pensions, which still exists in 21st Century Britain. Women are the…

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    ABI release on pension freedoms – customers need independent guidance or advice, not a provider’s helpline

    ABI release on pension freedoms – customers need independent guidance or advice, not a provider’s helpline

    ABI report confirms that the pensions industry needs to do more to ensure customers are properly informed and protected.   Pension provider helplines are no substitute for impartial, independent guidance and advice.   Pension Schemes Bill offers an opportunity for Government to introduce requirements for better customer protection against premature or fraudulent transfers.   First line of defence would see providers ask relevant questions to help identify scams. Second line of defence would be ensuring people have impartial guidance or…

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    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Removing higher rate tax relief from pensions is a lose-lose proposition which helps nobody and hurts millions.  Reforming pension incentives is enormously complicated and Treasury should beware of unintended consequences. Recent changes to Pension Allowances designed to reduce pension tax relief for higher earners  fuelled an NHS crisis, showing the dangers of chasing political headlines and short-term cost saving. Government should not be undermining saving incentives when debt is already at record levels.  Any reform of tax relief should improve…

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    Govt commitment to reform NHS pensions may pave the way for radical pension tax relief reform too

    Govt commitment to reform NHS pensions may pave the way for radical pension tax relief reform too

    Could Government commitment to sort out NHS pensions herald radical pension reform?  NHS problems are canary in the coalmine showing need to urgently change pensions tax rules.  Tapered Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance should be changed or abolished.  Reforming the £50billion annual cost of pensions tax reliefs (which gives top earners most help) could raise much-needed revenue AND improve pension outcomes. Reforms that could introduce new one-nation pension incentives and also save money include: Give everyone the same top-up to…

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    Time for Government to force pension firms to send plain English statements to their customers so they can understand pensions

    Time for Government to force pension firms to send plain English statements to their customers so they can understand pensions

    Government should force pension firms to send simpler, standardised annual statements.   It’s time for pension providers to help customers understand their pensions, not leave them baffled by jargon. Pensions Dashboard will not work without standardisation – and accurate data.   Annual pension statements could be sent for customer’s birthday wishing ‘many happy returns’! New statements should be promoted and explained by national public information campaign. Showing forecast pension at two ages e.g 60 and 67 could offer positive behavioural…

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