Cheers! Here’s to a secure old age.

July 07, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions EU Green Paper EU Life and Pensions regulation

Diageo win the prize. The giant drinks firm, famous for its Guinness brand have come up with an ingenious way to top-up the deficit in its pension scheme. They’ve given the pension fund 2 million barrels of maturing whiskey from its Scottish distilleries.
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NEST review should mean radical changes

June 28, 2010 Tom Murray

Steve Webb White Papers Pensions Life and Pensions Coalition

The announcement today of a review of how best to support the introduction of auto-enrolment into workplace pensions by coalition Minister of Pensions Steve Webb gives a clear indication that the approach to personal accounts is about to be radically changed.
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HMRC drawdown confusion shows need for change

June 22, 2010 Tom Murray

Steve Webb Pensions UK Annuity Life and Pensions

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs do not usually appear to be floundering but their recent contradictory positions on the taxation of drawdown transfers for the under 55s shows that someone in there is completely out of their depth.
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Australia leans towards flexible retirement

June 15, 2010 Tom Murray

Illustrate Plus Pensions tax incentive superannuation Life and Pensions

Reading reports of the EU’s attempts to deal with the pension time-bomb with endless committees and sub-committees in bunkers in Brussels, deforesting half of Brazil with their reports, it struck me that there were few signs that there was any major re-thinking going on about future pension funding outside the rarefied zones of the EU. Then along comes the Australian opposition party to prove me wrong with their new approach to superannuation.
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Reducing longevity risks in defined benefit pensions

June 09, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions UK Life and Pensions HMRC tax free lump sum

Defined benefit schemes are beneficial to society, giving members, lucky enough to be in one, stability for the future. But many schemes are in severe danger of collapse, under pressure from increasing longevity within the population. This pressure from payments carrying on far beyond what was originally envisioned will break many schemes, forcing people into money-purchase schemes, which have no guaranteed results and therefore risk leaving more people dependent upon the state. Given the enormous cost this would impose on society, and therefore on business just as much as individuals, we all need to start thinking of more radical solutions for stabilising those defined benefit schemes currently in existence.
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Canada keeps bancassurance at bay

May 31, 2010 Tom Murray

Competition Pensions Canada Life and Pensions Life

Since last summer, the barrier between the banking industry and the assurance sector has seemed to be crumbling. After the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions ruled in July 2009 that a bank website is not regarded as a bank branch, it opened the way for banks to begin promoting their insurance products on their websites.
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Let’s stop ‘dissing’ annuities.

May 28, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions UK Annuity Life and Pensions Obama

You would be forgiven, reading the financial pages lately, for thinking that annuities were one of the worst plagues to be inflicted on mankind since the time of Moses. Everyone is applauding the coalition’s announced policy of abolishing compulsory annuitisation at 75 as if it were the fall of the Berlin Wall in terms of the increase of the sum total of human freedoms.
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Can technology still deliver for Life & Pensions?

May 24, 2010 Tom Murray

Illustrate Plus Pensions IT Systems New Products Life and Pensions

It would be hardly surprising if most Life and Pension executives heave a heavy sigh when faced with a new proposal for a technology project. Far too many times they have been lead down the yellow brick road of ‘new technology’ only to find that the Emerald City is tarnished when they get there. So why should they believe the over-the-top blandishments in proposals promising more radical transformations than a Mediterranean Finance Minister seeking to keep the bond market at bay.
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Australia de-commissions financial planners

May 20, 2010 Tom Murray

Retail Distribution Review FSA Life and Pensions Chris Bowen Australia

The Australian government is moving to remove the distorting influence of commission based payments to financial planners. Following a series of scandals in the industry, in particular the losses associated with the collapse of Storm Financial, the government commissioned a report, the Ripoll Report, and is now proposing to put its recommendations into law.
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New Coalition allows drift in life and pensions sector

May 17, 2010 Tom Murray

Steve Webb IHT Pensions Retail Distribution Review FSA

The announcement of the new David Cameron’s new Liberal-Conservative cabinet has given signals that the ‘new politics’ will not result in any new thinking on policy for the Life and Pensions sector, at least in the short term. The two key appointments were at the ministerial level; Steve Webb as the pensions minister and Mark Hoban as the Treasury minister.
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