Breakingviews

Renzi is still dodging big Italian pension fight

May 21, 2015

The prime minister has found a clever way to blunt a constitutional court ruling on pensions that threatened to blow a hole in Italy’s budget. That avoids a conflict with Brussels. But he hasn’t bitten the bullet on the bigger pension issue: bloated spending that stifles growth.

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

September 16, 2014

Calpers, the $300 bln pension manager, is offloading its $4 bln of hedge funds. Too many in the 2-and-20 crowd look like stock pickers yet still present liquidity risks and, lately, low returns. Endowments are different, but for retirement funds Calpers could be setting a trend.

UK cuts pensions and workers — without a fight

December 21, 2011

The compromise between the UK government and public-sector workers over pensions looks like an important breakthrough. But if David Cameron is emerging as a consensual politician, it is with a very hard edge.

UK’s post deal should have pension bosses drooling

March 22, 2012

Britain is to assume responsibility for Royal Mail pensions. Ministers get to offset 28 bln pounds of assets against the UK’s debt and - for now - ignore liabilities that are 10 bln pounds larger. If other pension managers could follow, they’d be queuing all along Downing Street.

BT gets better side of deal with its pension fund

By Chris Hughes
March 23, 2012

The UK telco’s stock rose 6 pct after it said its pension deficit had more than halved to 4 bln stg and unveiled a plan to shrink the liability further by 2021. The market reaction is understandable. The pension scheme’s trustees could have demanded a faster fix to the problem.

Long life may cost world’s governments dear

By Christopher Swann
April 11, 2012

Statisticians may be underestimating the lengthening of the human lifespan. If they’re doing so by the same three years as recently, the IMF reckons the cost of pensions and healthcare will be 50 pct higher than expected. Something - probably retirement age - will have to give.

California shows way through tricky pension mess

June 8, 2012

San Jose and San Diego want current public workers to make sacrifices for their pensions, like contributing up to 16 percent more of salaries to fund retirement schemes. Backed by voters, the proposals look to be a sensible way forward in the thorny thicket of pension reform.

Greying China could be left in the red

July 10, 2012

The number of people aged 60 or over may more than double to 438 mln by 2050. That will dent competiveness and worsen social strains. A higher retirement age is one idea to counter a possible $3 trln shortfall in the pension fund. At least it’s not too late to start preparing.

U.S. student loan fix robs the old to pay the young

July 16, 2012

To keep borrowing rates low for education, Congress is using some devilish hocus-pocus. An accounting change will allow employers to kick in less to a pension guarantee fund. That could leave Uncle Sam owing more to retirees while also increasing taxpayer risk on student debts.

U.S. companies need to get real about pensions too

January 23, 2013

As lawmakers wrestle over how to fix the nation’s ailing retirement benefit programs, AT&T and Verizon took a whopping $17.2 bln of charges for theirs. Return expectations remain too rosy and deficits are rising. The private sector isn’t exactly leading the way on the issue.