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Ditch firms with final-salary plans

It now seems that some eminent fund managers are expecting a continuing bear market for the foreseeable future.

One of the constraints to company profits is the growing liability to pension funds.I absolutely agree with this prognosis but wonder at why managers do not institute the obvious solution.

Insist that companies in which they have major holdings ditch these shareholder-damaging schemes and look for investment opportunities in those companies that either never had or no longer have final-salary schemes and avoid those with big liabilities.The millstone should be weighed before investment is committed.

I seem to voice concerns which are often ignored for years and are then enthusiastically taken up when it is far too late.

I remember writing about the pension tax in 1997, 1 per cent charge in July 1999 and numerous comments over the years concerning what I felt were the pitfalls of final-salary schemes.

I felt marginalised at the time and very irritated now that it has taken the great and the good so long to allow the penny to drop.

Perhaps there is too much vested interest and the industry is too incestuous for its own good.

I think that perhaps one manager at least has recognised this last point – Bedlam – aptly named in the circumstances.

I urge some more immediate action from those who we entrust with our and our clients&#39 money. Instructions to my stockbroker are pretty explicit.

Harry Katz

Norwest Consultants

Stanmore Middlesex


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