The Great Debate UK

from James Saft:

Pension savers get the boot

From Dublin to Paris to Budapest to inside those brown UPS trucks delivering holiday packages, it has been a tough few weeks for savers and retirees.

Moves by the Irish, French and Hungarian governments, and by the famous delivery company, showed that in the post-crisis world retirees, present and future, will be paying much of the price and taking on more of the risk.

This goes beyond merely cutting back on pension benefits, rising to actual appropriation of supposedly long-term retirement assets to help fund short term emergencies.

Let's start with Ireland, which is kicking in 10 billion euros from its National Pensions Reserve Fund into an 85 billion euro package of support for its banks.

Nick, Gordon and Dave – here’s how you win the silver vote

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-Keith Edgar is managing director at Peverel Retirement. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Brown wants to be friends with Nick. Nick wants nothing to do with Gordon, but might end up as his best mate. Dave doesn’t think much of either of them, but the feeling is entirely mutual.

A call for a cross-party consensus on pensions

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Damian Stancombe-Damian Stancombe is head of corporate defined contribution at Punter Southall. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Pensions were a prominent feature of the chancellors’ debate recently, and are becoming a key battleground in the run-up to the election. Perhaps more interesting for us, however, has been the reaction of UK plc to the pensions issue and any government-led ‘solution’.

The UK should not waste its fiscal crisis

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hugodixon–  The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own  –

 The UK should not waste its fiscal crisis. As Britain embarks on its election campaign, this is a perfect opportunity to engage in radical tax and spending reforms designed not just to restore the country’s fiscal balance but to boost its long-term productivity and competitiveness.

Why the bulk-annuity market won’t revive

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Adam Stanley- Richard Jones is principal at Punter Southall Transaction Services. The opinions expressed are his own. -

A bulk annuity buy-out is an insurance contract which allows a defined benefit pension scheme sponsor and its trustees to absolve themselves of their responsibilities in regard of the accrued liabilities to members.

Second rate annuities can harm your income

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Bob Bullivant-Bob Bullivant is chief executive officer at Annuity Direct. The opinions expressed are his own.-

There are two distinct phases in building a pension – first comes the process of building up a pension fund – the so called accumulation phase. The next part is actually turning the money saved into an income for life – or pension, the so called decumulation phase.

The Pensions battleground: stalemate or truce?

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Simon Banks-Simon Banks is a principal at Punter Southall. The opinions expressed are his own.-

This summer we have seen the closure of many “defined benefit” pension schemes, which provide benefits based on a formula linked to salary.  They are closing because they are reliant on employer support and have either become too expensive, or have grown too large relative to the employer.

The great annuity scandal

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stevehunt- Steve Hunt is Managing Director of independent annuities broker Rockingham Retirement. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The concept of an annuity has not changed in hundreds of years. In fact the first annuities sold were probably during Roman times where ‘annua’ were sold for a fixed period or for life; but today’s mortality is unprecedented in history. An annuity was never designed to be paid over 30 years, or even 20 years for that matter.

Pensioners must shop around to get best annuity

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hunt- Stephen Hunt is managing director of Rockingham Retirement. The opinions expressed are his own. -

If we keep going the way we are, disaster looms for millions of over-60’s in the United Kingdom.

Why BT’s pension line is out of order

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REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

It is a quarter of a century since the ground-breaking privatisation of BT. Unfortunately, it may not be many more years before a reluctant government is forced to take the company back into state ownership.

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