• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

  • pensionsandsavings.com

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    Category: Savers and Savings Policy

    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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    Britain sinking deeper into debt as more consumers buy on high-interest credit

    Britain sinking deeper into debt as more consumers buy on high-interest credit

    Ultra-low interest rates are not feeding through to individual consumers.   Since 2009, credit card lending now 40% higher and household non-mortgage debt up 52.6%.   Average adult pays nearly £1000 a year in interest as retailers increasingly use buy now, pay later. 40% of working age people have under £100 in savings and are vulnerable to any economic weakness. Should Regulators curb unsecured borrowing at high rates given indications that we may be repeating mistakes that caused the financial…

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    Implications of the Woodford debacle

    Implications of the Woodford debacle

    Woodford Funds collapse highlights inadequate protections for ordinary investors.  Regulatory actions too little too late – funds with rising risks, falling liquidity and daily pricing need more timely intervention.   Clear warning signs in 2017 – Guernsey ‘listing’ for illiquid holdings was obvious red flag.    Does FCA have adequate powers to suspend management charges or penalise managers?    Loss of confidence in retail fund management industry may increase use of lower cost passive funds.    Inadequate protections for ordinary investors:…

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    Proposals to allow pension withdrawals for house purchase are dangerous

    Proposals to allow pension withdrawals for house purchase are dangerous

    Encouraging younger savers to spend their pensions before retirement runs huge risks. Confusing shorter-term cash savings for house deposit with long-term investing for pensions will damage retirement prospects for many. People need pensions to supplement very low State Pension in retirement. More money for house deposits may be popular short-term but could just raise house prices further – boosting demand without expanding supply of homes for sale is not a solution. Don’t muddle pensions with house-buying: Policy proposals suggesting people…

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    Regulators and Government need to improve consumer protection – consider banning unregulated investments in SIPPs

    Regulators and Government need to improve consumer protection – consider banning unregulated investments in SIPPs

    New Report highlights loss of trust in financial services, as savings rates reach record low.   Calls for regulators to put consumer interests first and pre-empt problems in pensions and finance, rather than dealing with losses after they’ve happened.   For example, banning unregulated investments in SIPPs could protect consumers better. Ros Altmann delighted to be appointed as Transparency Task Force 100th Ambassador.  Saving and investing for the future are an important part of social protection, to help people provide…

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    QE is 10 years old – have the side-effects been driving populist anger, Brexit and Trump?

    QE is 10 years old – have the side-effects been driving populist anger, Brexit and Trump?

    Ten years since QE started – has this ‘emergency monetary experiment’ contributed to Brexit, rising populism and anti-capitalism?    QE benefits Governments, banks and wealthiest in society and disadvantages younger and less well-off groups.  Central Bank policies may have operated as disguised fiscal policy without democratic accountability. QE started ten years ago as an emergency monetary experiment: When the Bank of England (BoE) introduced ‘quantitative easing’, in the teeth of the financial crisis ten years ago, the policy was supposed…

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    Care ISAs: Over-60s have £300billion in ISAs which could help care funding crisis

    Care ISAs: Over-60s have £300billion in ISAs which could help care funding crisis

    Britain’s over-60s have more than £300billion in ISAs which could help solve the care crisis. Over 8million over 60s have £35,000-£40,000 in ISAs. £1trillion+ earmarked to pay future pensions but nothing for future care costs. Government’s should introduce incentives for Care ISA.  Britain faces a funding crisis for elderly care with no money set aside for future care needs: The country cannot cope with the costs of caring for today’s elderly population as more than one million older people who…

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    Pensions are far better than Lifetime ISAs – Treasury Committee is right to recommend abolition

    Pensions are far better than Lifetime ISAs – Treasury Committee is right to recommend abolition

    Treasury Select Committee is right to recommend abolition of Lifetime ISA. Also right to suggest abolition of pensions Lifetime Allowance. Just have limit on annual contributions without penalising investment success. Lifetime ISA is unhelpful and confusing: I welcome the Treasury Select Committee’s recommendation to abolish the Lifetime ISA (LISA). (link here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtreasy/565/56510.htm ) The LISA is a hybrid product that can be used to save for house purchase or for later life. These two aims should be kept separate, rather…

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    Loss of confidence in capitalism, economic policy and democracy

    Loss of confidence in capitalism, economic policy and democracy

    25 September 2017 Based on my letter published in the Financial Times 22 September. Recent political events demonstrate disaffection with conventional politics. The votes for Brexit, Trump, Macron and far-right nationalists in Germany and other EU countries have been a shock to the established order. Questions are asked as to whether the sudden surge in populism represents a loss of confidence in capitalism, economic policy and democracy. Unconventional monetary policies may have played a role in the rise of populism…

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