Monday, August 06, 2012

"Pensions people can trust"

This post is just a little bit late but I was away when the Labour Party and Ed Miliband launched its policy review document on pensions last
month and I am still catching up on things.

I thought the review was pretty good and was pleased that the Party recognise that not only are pension policy holders being ripped off in charges but one of the most obvious solutions is that all pension schemes should be "Trustee based". 

This would mean that schemes are looked after by representatives of the beneficiaries who have a financial stake in their scheme and therefore a real fiduciary duty to their fellow pension scheme members. Most company defined contribution schemes are run by pension or insurance companies and have no trustee representation at all. These schemes tend to be run in the interests of private companies and their shareholders, not pension policy holders. No wonder in so many cases they get such a rotten deal.

The review was not perfect. I was disappointed that the review did not mention any positive measures to protect and encourage defined benefit schemes. It did put its finger on the major pension challenge. The complete and utter lack of trust by the British public in our financial institutions.  Who would blame them for this? Since all the evidence is that for at least the last 30 years most have at best ripped off and at worse defrauded savers. The latest loan protection mis-selling scandals and LIBOR fixing shows it is still going on. Things need to change. 
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