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Brown duels

Chancellor Gordon Brown has had an interesting couple of weeks. No doubt, a Channel 4 programme by Ros Altmann attacking his pension record has caused him irritation but it is perhaps not his main focus as he tries to secure the succession to the Premiership.

But even if advisers do not agree with all the charges levelled at Brown, they have some reason to be concerned at his accession. We think it is not unreasonable to suggest that when they bother to think about them, Brown and his lieutenants really do not like IFAs. It is also not unreasonable to suggest that at least some of the problems afflicting company and personal pensions come either from Treasury actions or from a degree of Government inaction, often resulting from interdepartmental conflict that usually includes Brown’s department.

If there is a Brown Premiership, we hope that his ministers at the very least come to terms with the need for advice and advisers and also that some coherence and sense is returned to pension policymaking. But we are not optimistic because the signs up to now have not been good.

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