• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

  • pensionsandsavings.com

    Boom time for economy in 2014

    Boom time for economy in 2014

    16 December 2013 Economic and political cycle brilliantly aligned – by accident or design? Positive surprises – higher growth, lower inflation, rising earnings, falling unemployment Last week I represented the London School of Economics at an Economics Research Council debate called the Clash of the Titans.  http://www.ercouncil.org/clash-of-the-titans-2013/ The event was chaired by Andrew Sentance of PwC, former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, and saw Kevin Daly of Goldman Sachs – representing Cambridge University, Stephen King of…

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    Annuities – now FCA Consumer Panel calls for urgent reform

    Annuities – now FCA Consumer Panel calls for urgent reform

    9 December 2013 Financial Services Consumer Panel slams annuity market Calls for urgent regulatory reform – this is long overdue Fears that annuities don’t offer value for money and insurers making excessive profits Annuity consumers need better protection:  A report just released by the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) calls for urgent regulatory reform of annuity sales, in order to protect consumers.  http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2317942/fscp-demands-change-in-the-non-advised-annuities-market The FSCP is the consumer body of the FCA – the financial services regulator – and its…

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    Autumn Statement – implications for pensions and savings

    Autumn Statement – implications for pensions and savings

    5 December 2013 Summary of Autumn Statement measures relating to pensions and savings People will be allowed to buy extra state pension:  People will be allowed to buy extra state pension with introduction of Class 3A National Insurance.  There are no details yet, but the plan is that those who reach state pension age before the new flat-rate state pension is introduced in April 2016.  Existing pensioners as well as those reaching state pension age soon, will be able to…

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    Rising state pension age is not a penalty on the young

    Rising state pension age is not a penalty on the young

    5 December 2013 Rising state pension age is not a penalty on the young – it’s an opportunity to embrace a new type of retirement  Retirement needs to change – it is not an aspiration to live on a state pension for over 30 years! There is much angst this morning about the Chancellor’s suggestion of increasing state pension ages for younger generations.  Quite frankly, the concerns seem based on out of date ideas about the nature of state pensions and retirement. …

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    What’s happened to savers? Chancellor please take note

    What’s happened to savers? Chancellor please take note

    3 December 2013   David Cameron said, before the last election: ‘We need to make a really big change: from an economy built on debt to an economy built on savings’ Yet BofE figures show largest fall in long-term savings since 1970s Short-sighted policy encouraging spending now instead of saving for tomorrow is dangerous for all of us Chancellor should recognise importance of savers for long-term growth in his Autumn Statement People taking money out of long-term savings: Analysis of…

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    Well done Mr. Carney ….

    Well done Mr. Carney ….

    28 November 2013 … for focussing Funding for Lending on business loans – which is what it should always have done. At long last some relief in sight for savers? The Bank of England’s announcement today that the Funding for Lending scheme will only be available for business lending, not mortgage lending, is fantastic news. At long last, there seems to be a recognition that there are real dangers of a housing bubble based on unsustainably cheap mortgages and that…

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    Pension fund charges – important issues

    Pension fund charges – important issues

    28 November 2013 Pension fund charges – don’t get obsessed with lowering charges too far, too fast Difference between 0.5% and 0.75% AMC equates to about 5% of final pension fund over 46 years – People lose far more than this when buying poor annuities which have no controls at all Cap new scheme charges to protect smaller firms but leave legacy schemes till after 2018 – and reform NEST charges to allow proper comparison As the Government’s consultation on pension scheme…

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    Pensions Regulator misses an opportunity to ensure DC trustees address annuity inadequacy

    Pensions Regulator misses an opportunity to ensure DC trustees address annuity inadequacy

    22 November 2013 Another missed opportunity to address the inadequacies of annuities The Pensions Regulator Code of Practice for DC scheme trustees suggests  independent advice or using an annuity broker are of equal value to members But annuity brokers provide no advice, won’t explain benefits of not buying, don’t ensure right product or best rate and still charge fees Independent financial advice should ensure members optimise the value of their pension fund with right timing, right product and best rate…

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    Annuity providers keep £1billion a year as widows left penniless

    Annuity providers keep £1billion a year as widows left penniless

    18 November 2013 Widows penniless while insurers pocket £1billion a year from husbands’ pension funds   Companies make huge profits as customers buy wrong annuity because they don’t understand complex terms Focus just on ‘shopping around’ or ‘best rate’ is not enough, need right product first Channel 4 Dispatches reveals real life example of this failure and insurer agrees to change annuity terms The UK annuity market is failing its customers.  An annuity is a product sold by insurers who…

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    Rates are too low as economy booming – Forward Guidance looking backwards

    Rates are too low as economy booming – Forward Guidance looking backwards

    14 November 2013 Bank of England repeating past mistakes – rates should start rising as UK growth set to surge Mortgage borrowers enticed into large loans at low rates as loan to income ratio returns to pre-crisis peak Keeping rates at 0.5% is about politics, not economics Take the squeeze off pensions and savers – and encourage companies to spend their £200bn cash pile UK economy is booming – but BoE looking backwards instead of forwards: The Bank of England has finally realised…

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