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Final nail in the coffin

The headline, 3bn review for contracting out (Money Marketing last week), must have caught the attention, if not caused clinical depression, for many in our profession. In the same week, I have celebrated with my stepson claiming 880 windfall shares in Standard Life (worth currently some 2300) awarded as a result of setting up a rebate-only personal pension in 1997.

We now hear the latest bombshell from the FSA’s boardroom. Our profession has not yet recovered from the first and second pension review, with consequent higher professional indemnity costs, and the mortgage and endowment review.

Now we are told that acting on specific advice of the then Chancellor, now Lord Lawson, to contract out of Serps/S2P may not have been the best financial decision of all time.

If current Chancellor Gordon Brown had not reduced the value of rebates or pillaged 100bn or more of tax credits in the last 10 years, this issue is unlikely to have arisen.

The real problem lies with our failed Government and mismanagement of the pension industry for the past 10 years. Perhaps they could be persuaded to reverse their actions and abolish means testing or shall we wait a little longer and see them replaced for being useless?

All quangos set up by this failed Chancellor in the last 10 years should remember who pays their wages and work to preserve our once proud pension industry which led Europe in the 1990s and is now already been reduced to the worst-performing country through a misguided Government aided by Brown’s equally incapable quangos.

A further 3bn retrospective review would be the final nail in the coffin for the FSA as well as Brown and the IFA profession.

For now, though, we celebrate with the windfalls and thank Lord Lawson and his advice in 1987. At least my stepson will have some money to retire on at age 60 as a result of this advice. For the rest of the working population, Brown has forced women under age 40 to draw pension benefits from age 65, thereby robbing them of five years’ income, and soon we will all be robbed as benefits will be deferred to age 70 if current proposals are concluded.

Sadly, many will get nothing due to death prior to age 70. The real problem needs therefore to be named, shamed and sacked, not promoted to Prime Minister or elevated to the House of Lords to cause still further damage.

Peter Garside

IFA Peter Garside & Co Cambridge

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