• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

  • pensionsandsavings.com

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    Category: Monetary and Fiscal Policy

    Chancellor’s Statement comment

    Chancellor’s Statement comment

    Chancellor rightly focuses on jobs and increasing infrastructure spending to boost growth. Great to see Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Restart programmes to help for older unemployed workers – as state pension age rises.   Green projects and social housing should use UK pension assets instead of more borrowing.   The Autumn Statement sets out the depth of the economic emergency we are facing and the Chancellor is right to ensure that we focus on preserving and creating jobs, increasing infrastructure, improving environmental…

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    Chancellor should seize the chance to use pension assets to boost growth and build back Britain

    Chancellor should seize the chance to use pension assets to boost growth and build back Britain

    Pensions offer Chancellor the chance to boost growth directly rather than borrowing billions.    Defined Benefit schemes better suited to such investments than the much smaller pool of Defined Contribution pension funds with liquidity and daily pricing rules.    Over £2trillion in UK pensions could be investing for long-term growth but regulators are driving them to buy gilts and low return bonds.   Heavy regulatory anchors are weighing down DB schemes and could sink them with low or negative returns…

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    MPs should grasp the chance to protect pensions and boost growth

    MPs should grasp the chance to protect pensions and boost growth

    MPs have a chance to protect pensions or put them more at risk – what will they do? Cross-party MPs will try to reinstate Lords measures to help private sector schemes use their assets to boost the economy, rather than buying more gilts. Remaining private sector final salary-type schemes are under threat from rules that will encourage reckless conservatism. Pensions are a better way to boost growth than relying on QE! The Pension Schemes Bill will have its final session…

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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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    Wonderful news: Barclays to waive interest charges on arranged overdrafts

    Wonderful news: Barclays to waive interest charges on arranged overdrafts

    WELL DONE TO BARCLAYS – FIRST BANK TO AGREE TO WAIVE OVERDRAFT CHARGES   It will not charge customers using arranged overdrafts from Friday till end April 2020   Congratulations to Barclays Bank for being the first to announce it will suspend interest charges for its customers who need to dip into their arranged overdraft facilities.  Until now, even those people using arranged overdrafts were facing penal interest charges of around 40% a year.  Now, the bank says its customers…

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    Banks should immediately cut record high credit card interest rates to 0.5% and reduce overdraft rates to help customers weather this crisis

    Banks should immediately cut record high credit card interest rates to 0.5% and reduce overdraft rates to help customers weather this crisis

    Two suggestions for banks to introduce immediately to help customers cope with the current crisis.  Reduce credit card interest rates to 0.5% Abandon plans to increase overdraft interest rates to nearly 40% Credit card interest rates are at record highs, despite the bank rate at a record low: Credit card interest rates are higher now than they were before the 2008 financial crisis. Unfortunately, banks have been continuing to increase the interest rates charged to credit card customers, even as…

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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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    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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    Bank of England must not cut rates this week

    Bank of England must not cut rates this week

    Latest forward-looking indicators are positive so using pre-election economic weakness to justify rate reductions makes no sense . Who will benefit from lower interest rates anyway? Mortgages may be cheaper but house prices and rents may rise, and banks have not passed on rate reductions to consumers. Higher credit card and overdraft rates and more consumers using buy now pay later schemes are weakening household finances. Apparently there is talk of the Bank of England deciding to reduce interest rates…

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