• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

  • pensionsandsavings.com

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    Category: Pensions

    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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    Making the State Pension more flexible should focus on State Pension Age

    Making the State Pension more flexible should focus on State Pension Age

    State Pension flexibility could be welcome, but for State Pension Age, not amount of pension. Just allowing people to take part of their State Pension, while still requiring them to wait to an ever-rising State Pension age, will not remedy the injustices in the current system. We already have the lowest state pension in the developed world and receiving only part of it will just add complexity, but will not help those in failing health or caring for others. Current…

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    State Pension after Brexit and frozen pensioners

    State Pension after Brexit and frozen pensioners

    Good news for British expats in Europe as Withdrawal Agreement guarantees their State Pensions will not be frozen. Government should now reassure these pensioners that, whatever happens after 2020, they have lifelong state pension uprating.   However this is only for expats already in Europe by year-end. Government must warn people of the risk that future retirees who move to Spain, France or other European countries after 2020 may have their pension frozen. This note deals with the question of…

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    NHS pension crisis won’t be solved by tinkering with the taper rules

    NHS pension crisis won’t be solved by tinkering with the taper rules

    NHS pension crisis won’t be resolved by raising Tapered Annual Allowance threshold.  Senior staff need certainty that their pension ‘benefits’ do not become a costly penalty for extra work. Government must abolish unworkable taper rules, not just tweak them. I have suggested my own 10-point action plan for addressing the crisis.   It is of course reasonable for the Government to look to control the costs of tax incentives: The TAA was originally announced as reducing the £40,000 annual contributions…

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