UK slaps capitalism in its “unacceptable” face

July 25, 2016

Lawmakers angry at retailer BHS's collapse are mulling further regulation to protect jobs and pensions. The fiasco epitomises what Prime Minister Theresa May decries as "anything goes" business. It takes UK corporate life into interesting - and potentially painful - moral areas.

Chancellor: Pensions are a bubble waiting to burst

April 15, 2016

Bubbles are essentially illusions of wealth. So look no further than the gap between what pensioners have been promised and the assumptions about returns on their inadequate savings for a glimpse into the next source of financial fragility.

Pensions not steel are Tata’s big UK headache

March 31, 2016

The Indian group’s British plants have issues, but could be rendered profitable. The bigger challenge is funding shortfalls in its pension scheme for 130,000 members. If a new acquirer could find a workaround and new investment, British steelmaking could still work.

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

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

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.