A modest proposal to resolve the public sector pension crisis

November 02, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Public sector pensions HMRC

It is upsetting for everyone to see public sector workers driven onto the streets in an attempt to preserve the meagre lifestyle that they have been promised after a lifetime’s devoted service on behalf of Her Majesty. The despair of the workers at the proposed delay in giving them their pensions and the significant reduction in value of those pensions can only cause distress to any decent citizen observing the situation.
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Pick a Card, Any Card!

October 25, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation FSA Life and Pensions Australia

When a magician performs, people struggle to spot the actual trick. They know there is one and they are desperately trying to avoid being misdirected by the magician into looking in the wrong place while he completes the manoeuvre to produce the illusion.
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Canada trusts its pension providers – why don't we?

July 13, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions Canada superannuation FSA New Products

Once again, the Canadians are showing how to tackle fundamental problems by using a large dose of common sense and sweating the assets you already have. Following on from their brilliant but obvious approach to transferring pension risk to individuals and then teaching them to cope with it (see blog - http://wp.me/pn0vi-3S), they now seem certain to proceed with the introduction of PRPPs – Pooled Registered Pension Plans. This rather clever new product is a response to the lack of access that 50% of Canadians have to workplace based pensions, either because they are working in small firms in the private sector or are self-employed. In essence sets out to solve the same problem that the auto-enrolment / National Employment Savings Trust sets out to do in the UK. The product removes the need for an employer- employee relationship for membership of the plan and allows for the pooling of all contributions from the employees of many small firms and self-employed individuals. The size of the resulting plans allows economies of scale to be achieved similar to the plans of the large employers, delivering better value to the individual pension contributors.
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Compulsion may be the only choice for pensions

June 29, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions regulation NEST

Monday’s Populus survey for the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) showed that 47% of those aged between eighteen and thirty-four would save more for their retirement if they knew how much state pension they would get. Accordingly, the NAPF have stated that the reason for the lack of saving for the future with young people is that the government have failed to make it clear what level of state pension will be available in the future, so it’s their fault that nobody is saving. This makes the government a handy scapegoat but, in truth, the connection between government clarity over state pension pay outs in thirty years time and the lack of urgency felt about savings by today’s young people is slightly tenuous. To see what the survey is saying, you have to consider the likely basis for individuals answering the questions. For a start, no matter how much the marketing companies try, the setting is completely artificial. The respondents are asked a specific set of questions, which by their nature focus them on the issue in hand.
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Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I’m… 96?

June 23, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Asset Backed Annuities Life & Pensions

The government’s answers to the Beatles’ questions are no and not very much respectively. So it’s clear that it is up to individuals to provide for themselves in their old age. But what should annuitants do to maximise their return from their pension pot? Well one of their best options may well be to keep on doing what they are doing instinctively, and ignore advice from the pension experts.
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For today’s kids, a bird in the hand is worth two in the NEST.

June 15, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions Investment Life and Pensions Life NEST

- Young people don’t save. They prefer to spend their money on instant gratification rather than think about providing for their own future. -
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Who’ll take the blame when NEST’s chickens come home to roost?

June 09, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions Invest Plus Life and Pensions NEST Life & Pensions

The announcement of the investment strategy by NEST gets no easier to understand, no matter how long one studies it. In defiance of all standard pension investment approaches, the investment strategy has been established as a cautious approach for the early , or foundation years; this applies to people under 30. This is followed by a growth strategy which will be for the middle years and a return to a cautious strategy for the consoldiation phase as the employee nears retirement.
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The ACFS show the Australian government a quick win on pensions

October 27, 2010 Tom Murray

Illustrate Plus Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Australia

The recent research carried out by Mercer for the Australian Centre for Financial Studies[1] makes some fascinating points -(No, it really does.) This report is the second one produced for the Centre and it creates a global pensions index by which they compare the retirement income systems in fourteen countries across all five continents.
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Illustrations could bring some realism to Australians

October 21, 2010 Tom Murray

Illustrations Illustrate Plus Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions

One of the problems of the Australian superannuation system is the way it is reported. The majority of Super Funds give out annual statements which merely state the total amount of the fund.
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French riot - because they’re worth it!

October 19, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions UK French riots Life and Pensions Ageing population

The surprising thing about the rioting in France is that we haven’t yet seen it closer to home. In truth the French people appear to have cottoned on to the fact that the current economic crisis, aided by years of poor planning by western governments, is going to have a dramatic effect on their future lifestyles – dramatic in the sense of a Shakespearean tragedy, while the rest of us are accepting this as if it is ordained by the fates.
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