Monday, September 24, 2012

Dr Hari Mann: RSA Tomorrow's Investor programme

Dr Mann was the first speaker at last weeks meeting of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT).

He spoke about the 4 year research programme into investments by the Royal Society Arts/Tomorrow's Investor Programme. He and co-author David Pitt-Watson published this report in July on Collective Pensions. 

His key theme was the high cost of many defined contribution pension schemes and the lack of transparency over charges. He prefers the Danish model where you find clear cost transparency which allows market forces to work effectively and drive down charges. In the UK the pension annual management charge does not include all costs. Some schemes charge up to 5% of contributions.
 
While it is clear that due to cost well designed Collective DC schemes are far better than individual DC. They are still clearly inferior than Defined Benefit schemes and always will, be since the risk in all forms of DC, remains with the employees. Also the return from pension annuities is so miserable that you need to save huge amounts in order to receive a decent income from DC.
 
Surely there is no getting away from it that it is better to retain (and reform when necessary) DB schemes? The real problem with DB is not that it is unaffordable but that of outdated accounting standards and the resulting volatility in valuations?
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