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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Victory in Europe brings its own costs

May 11, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions UK Life and Pensions Life Ageing population

While the eyes of the world focused on the market reaction to the stalemate in the UK election and the ongoing travails of the euro, the tanks rolling through Red Square in Moscow on Sunday to celebrate 65 years since VE day were a reminder that there are bigger issues rumbling out there that are being studiously ignored.
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L&P industry under attack from all sides

May 06, 2010 Tom Murray

Goldman Sachs IHT Pensions UK Life and Pensions

Goldman Sachs plays into the hands of the regulation mob
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Market optimism high in Canada

April 28, 2010 Tom Murray

economy Canada market RBC Canada life and pension providers

It is too easy to become depressed when reading current market news dominated by the legalities of Goldman Sachs operation and the convulsions in the euro-zone caused by the Trojan Horse that is the Greek economy, but when one looks beyond that there are some western economies that are showing that all is not lost for the next few years in the West.
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Will fifth pillar be good news for Australia?

April 22, 2010 Tom Murray

NAB Life and Pensions National Australia Bank Australia regulation

When I heard that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have blocked National Australia Bank’s bid for the purchase of the AXA Asia Pacific and has instead given the go-ahead to the rival bid from AMP my first reaction was that regulatory interference in the market has got to be good for the consumer. But on reflection, I think this is a good example of how government bodies can occasionally get things badly wrong by trying too hard to get it right.
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