Actuarial Post: Oz goes back to basics with Pensions - Life & Pension

August 10, 2016 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation uk annuities compulsory annuity annuities

Oz goes back to basics with Pensions This article was originally commissioned for the July 2016 edition of the Actuarial Post.
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Guidance issue is key to pension reform success

July 17, 2014 Tom Murray

lump sum decumulation Pensions UK superannuation

Compared to most other countries, the decumulation sector in the UK is very sophisticated. A wide variety of decumulation options are in place to deal with longevity risk. The danger of outliving your money is the most severe risk faced by the public because when it impacts, the individual is too old to return to income generating activities to compensate. So the availability of conventional annuities, flexible income annuities, deferred annuities and enhanced annuities along with myriad drawdown products optimises the choice for retirees so that they can get suitable financial products for their particular circumstances.
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Antipodean pension’s strategy is the opposite of our own

April 15, 2014 Tom Murray

lump sum Pensions UK superannuation uk annuities

J ust as the Chancellor decides that people are experienced enough to make the right decisions on pensions, evidence from Australia has surfaced to show that this may be completely the wrong approach.
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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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Australian Financial Planner confusion

July 27, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions Retail Distribution Review superannuation Life and Pensions Australia

The 2011 Superannuation and Wealth Management in Australia report from Roy Morgan Research paints an alarming picture of the confusion within the industry in Australia. Most financial planners are either working for one of the big eight fund managers or are aligned to them. And therefore, to no one’s surprise surely, financial planners are funnelling most clients’ money into their own company’s products. This would be fine were it not for the fact that a substantial proportion of the clients are unaware of this bias, as some financial planner firms are branded differently from the institution they are owned by or aligned with. This cannot be good for the industry and is most certainly not in the interest of the consumer. Australia’s “Future of Financial Advice” reforms, the Aussie equivalent of RDR, does not even tackle this issue. It restricts itself to trying to remove commission bias by making fee-only payment for advice compulsory. However, this will only increase the feeling among consumers that they are being given independent advice, which is patently not the case. According to the Roy Morgan survey, even the best performer – ANZ Group– is guiding 46.2% of client money into it’s own products while AMP Group takes the prize with 81.3%.
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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 -, 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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European Court of Justice declares “All animals are equal....”

March 01, 2011 Tom Murray

Illustrations Illustrate Plus Pensions superannuation Annuity

“Item 2 on the agenda”, said Squealer to the meeting of the farm animals. “Rations for retired animals. “
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